Everyone deserves the freedom to make their own decisions about their bodies and their lives – including the decision to have an abortion. Yet for many people, abortion access is far from a reality. Anti-abortion politicians continue to deny our freedom and create obstacles when it comes to decisions about our health, our bodies and our families.

Now, the stakes are at their highest. This summer, the Supreme Court could give anti-abortion politicians fuel to achieve their ultimate goal of banning abortion with just one case: Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization. With reproductive rights on the line more than ever before, it’s up to states across the country to defend access to abortion care. Maine is taking up this charge; all other states must follow suit.

I know that the right to abortion is essential – it played a key role in building the life I have now. In the 1990s, I was a woman whose birth control failed, and it was not the right time in my life to have a child. So I chose to exercise my right to abortion care. It’s taken me years to embrace my choice as one I am unashamed to share. Though the choice to have an abortion is private, sharing our abortion stories, whether we are men or women, normalizes them as a part of comprehensive health care services everyone should be able to access. Because of my choice, I am now able to run a thriving business, serve my community as a state senator and use my skills and experiences to give back in myriad ways. I consider myself blessed to have had the opportunity to become a mother of two incredible young women on my own terms. Without this choice, I know I would not be where I am today.

Right now, the effort underway to strip this right from millions of Americans is coordinated and deliberate. In the consequential Dobbs case under review by the Supreme Court now, the state of Mississippi explicitly asks the court to overturn Roe v. Wade. Should that happen, 26 states could move to ban abortion; 36 million women – nearly half of the women of reproductive age (18-49) in the United States – could lose abortion access. Last year, state lawmakers across the country introduced nearly 600 anti-abortion bills. These attacks are not happening in isolation – they are intended to take choice and freedom away from millions of people.

In Maine, Democratic lawmakers stand for reproductive justice. We will not stand by while anti-abortion politicians try to control our reproductive freedom and ban abortion. We will not go backward.

Our state is a leader in defending and expanding abortion access – we have the third-lowest number of abortion restrictions nationwide. In the State House, we have passed bills to remove unnecessary bureaucratic barriers to abortion services. If Roe is overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court, we already have laws in place to protect Mainers’ access to abortion. Other states are not so lucky.

Though our state is a leader nationally, we still have work to do across Maine to ensure every individual can access an abortion, regardless of which county they live in, their demographics or their employment status. Restrictive policies within our state, like those that allow health care providers to refuse to provide abortion services to a patient, have got to go – and Maine Democrats are working to make that happen.

As elected leaders who have a deep responsibility to achieve the progress our constituents want, we won’t leave anything to chance. I pledge to continue working with my colleagues to fight for access to comprehensive, affordable health care and counter all the anti-abortion bills that are put forward.

We will do what it takes to make sure people can get abortion care they need. Now is the time to work together to build a world where each of us has access to the health care we need, when we need it. We won’t stop until that vision is realized.

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