Abortion is one of the few major issues where there’s a clear difference between U.S. Rep. Jared Golden and his Republican challengers.

Maine U.S. Rep. Jared Golden in Lewiston in 2022. Steve Collins/Sun Journal file

The three-term Lewiston Democrat calls himself a strong advocate for abortion rights and has sharply criticized the 2022 U.S. Supreme Court decision that overturned the Roe v. Wade standard that had been the law for half a century.

But the Republicans who hope to replace Golden as the congressman from Maine’s 2nd District have a different take.

State Rep. Austin Theriault, a Republican from Fort Kent, described himself as “pro-life” and hailed the Supreme Court’s decision in the Dobbs v. Jackson case that put abortion rights back on the agenda of political races across America.

Theriault said the court’s majority “was right to put the issue back to the states.”

The other GOP lawmaker vying for the Republican nomination to face Golden in the November general election, state Rep. Mike Soboleski of Phillips, also calls himself pro-life. He added that he believes there should be exceptions, however, “for rape, incest and the life of the mother.”


Soboleski said the Supreme Court “ruled correctly and that these decisions belong to the states.”

He said he thinks, too, that “we need to increase funding for adoption services and support for women dealing with these difficult personal decisions.”

Austin Theriault Submitted photo

Theriault said the entire issue “needs to be approached with compassion and understanding for people in extraordinarily difficult situations. I have no interest in scaring people on this issue.”

For Golden, it’s an issue of women’s rights.

He said in a statement Monday that Roe v. Wade, a decision issued in 1973, “established the important precedent that women deserve the freedom to make their own health care decisions, and that precedent rightfully stood for decades.”

“The overturning of Roe took away that freedom from women all over the country,” he said, and “Congress has a responsibility to restore it.”


Mike Soboleski Provided photo

After the Roe case and before Dobbs, the justices had barred states from banning abortion prior to the point where a fetus could live outside the womb, generally considered to be no earlier than 22 weeks. The Dobbs case tossed out that standard, declaring there is no federal right to an abortion, a decision which cleared the way for states to adopt laws of their own. Some have passed extremely restrictive measures while others have taken steps to guarantee women have a right to choose what they want to do.

Golden has voted for abortion rights bills on many occasions and opposed measures that would restrict abortion rights.

Last week, Golden pointed out in a written statement, he voted against bills that would have mandated schools provide information to pregnant students, in the hope they would decide against abortion, and provided federal funds to anti-abortion counseling centers.

Soboleski and Theriault are facing off in a June primary. The winner will take on Golden in the Nov. 5 general election that also includes elections for president and U.S. Senate.

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