Maine Family Planning is appalled at the confirmation of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court.
This confirmation never should have moved forward in the first place — not so close to the election, with so many votes already cast, and not while people in Maine and across the country continue to wait for critical federal relief amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In the wake of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death, the U.S. Senate prioritized fast-tracking a dangerous Supreme Court nominee over helping folks survive worsening public health and economic crises. That’s just not right.
Now, with Judge Barrett on the Supreme Court, reproductive rights, LGBTQ+ rights, disability rights, health care access, and our very democracy are at risk.
An analysis from our colleagues at the Center for Reproductive Rights finds: “Judge Barrett has the most extreme record in opposition to reproductive rights of any Supreme Court nominee since the rejected nomination of Judge Robert Bork over 30 years ago.” Barrett has ruled against abortion rights both times the issue was before her on the bench; her writings, public advocacy, and testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee earlier this month show Judge Barrett holds legal positions that could endanger access to birth control, abortion care, and fertility treatments.
Judge Barrett’s record is full of similarly troubling views on everything from the Affordable Care Act, to legal protections in health care, employment, and housing for LGBTQ+ people, to voting rights.
We know that multiple cases in the Supreme Court pipeline could weaken Roe v. Wade or overturn it altogether. Should Roe fall, legal abortion access would effectively end in up to 22 states, according to an updated analysis. Black, Latinx, Indigenous, young, and poor people would be most harmed by this dramatic reduction in abortion access. And when people are denied wanted abortion care, it can have long-term consequences for their mental, physical, and economic well-being.
What Will Happen in Maine?
It’s important to remember that even if Roe falls, Mainers’ right to abortion care is protected in state law. Maine took additional steps last year to further protect and expand abortion access in our state.
But as MFP President and CEO George Hill wrote in a Portland Press Herald op-ed this month, we can’t be complacent; we must safeguard these protections.
“In the current climate, it certainly is a relief to know that the Reproductive Privacy Act protects Mainers’ right to abortions,” Hill wrote. “But state statutes are less secure than protections enshrined in state constitutions. State law can be changed or repealed in the course of a single four- to six-month legislative session.”
“We cannot take for granted that Maine’s state legislature currently comprises many reproductive champions who reflect real Maine values,” he continued. “We must work together to keep it that way.”
What can you do?
- Support your local clinics and abortion funds.
- Ask state leaders: What do you know about the Reproductive Privacy Act — and what will you do to protect it?
- Work to dismantle abortion stigma in your communities.
- Look to those who are doing the work on the ground and lift up their strategies and solutions.
- Did we mention, VOTE?
- Most importantly, take a deep breath and then keep fighting. It will take all of us working together to overcome the hurdles ahead.