If there’s anything on which abortion critics and abortion-rights supporters should agree, it’s this: A woman who has chosen to carry her pregnancy to term deserves a safe place to live. Having a stable home makes it easier for a pregnant woman to take care of herself and makes it more likely that she’ll have a strong, healthy child.

It’s bad news, then, that state funding cuts are forcing a Biddeford agency to close a group home for pregnant women. This is just the latest in a series of moves by the LePage administration that will harm poor women and their children – decisions about which those who like to call themselves “pro-family” routinely, and tellingly, have had nothing to say.

The decision by St. Andre Home to close its adoption program and Starling Place, its shelter for pregnant women, comes two years after the Maine Department of Health and Human Services largely eliminated funds for St. Andre’s residential services.

The agency will still provide services like clinical care, counseling and parenting classes for pregnant women and new mothers on an outpatient basis. But the shuttering of the live-in program puts a vulnerable population at risk.

Starling Place has served young women who had nowhere else to go. Without it, their options will dwindle to moving from one friend’s home to another, or living with people with strangers – neither of which sets the stage for a healthy pregnancy. Multiple studies show that pregnant women in unstable living situations are more likely than others to be physically abused, to lack access to nutritious food and prenatal care and to experience a level of stress that can keep the fetus from developing normally.

And these issues aren’t resolved by the birth of the child. Programs that help mothers and children trying to get by on poverty-level incomes have been plundered under the LePage administration.

For example, a new time limit cut off Temporary Assistance for Needy Families cash benefits to thousands of families between 2011 and 2014, with no clear, corresponding drop in the child poverty rate. The limit was touted as an incentive for former recipients to find work – a notion contradicted by the fact that 60 percent of them already had jobs.

The past few years have also seen a sharp decline in the number of families with access to health care. Over 28,000 parents have lost MaineCare coverage since eligibility standards were tightened in 2012. Their children’s benefits were cut off at the same time, even though the kids still qualified for coverage.

Thanks to his unwavering opposition to abortion, Gov. Paul LePage has enjoyed the unqualified admiration of Maine’s anti-abortion groups. By staying silent when LePage and his administration slash services to women and children, they’ve not just made a mockery of the term “pro-life” but also implicitly endorsed efforts to make life harder for those they say they support.

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