Over 500 supporters of pro-choice policies crammed Portland’s Congress Square Park this morning to hear shocking stories of abortion, messages of love and commitments from health care providers and politicians to continue to provide and support abortion care despite those who are determined to end all health care protections for the women of Maine. Toby Rosenberg, one of the organizers of the Rally, said that over 550 people registered for the event.
“….laws like Texas’s SB8 are not the far-off threat that we might be tempted to write them off as. The rights that we have won were hard-fought,” said Julie Jenkins, a Nurse Practitioner. “In this crowd, in this sea of faces and bodies, there are many, many people who have had abortions. And I want to say that you are loved and that you matter. When we all work together to destigmatize and humanize this common experience, we can shift the conversation and we can change minds.” (See below right photograph of Jenkins.)
Eunice Nuna, Executive Director of Wounded Healers International, Maine, said that in her native Kenya, she was forced to find an “untraditional way” to get an abortion when she learned she was pregnant. She was told to use a chemical for her abortion, risking her own life; an act that drew gasps of horror from the engaged crowd at Congress Square Park. “Please allow me to own my womb. Please allow me to make my own decisions,” she told a supportive crowd in front of her.
Dr. Rachel Criswell, an abortion provider from central Maine, told the massive crowd that efforts to ban abortion were sexist and racist. “It’s not that far away here in Maine. Now is the time to be vocal and clear that abortion is health care. Join me in demanding that Senator Collins stand up for Maine women’s health care,” she said.
That demand from Dr. Criswell to Senator Collins drew the loudest roar of approval embracing all of the downtown arts district of Portland with its volume. Collins has been a public “no show” for years in Southern Maine. Her office manager once said that the Senator does not find public appearances the best way to communicate with her constituents. But, press releases are she said. When was the last time you received a press release from “no-show?”
“….what’s happening in Texas, Mississippi and other deep red states CAN happen in Maine. Maine is not immune from the ugly, racist, hateful bills we’ve seen in other states..you know…the ones that enable voter suppression, the ones that target trans youth and the ones that hamper people’s access to a full range of health care, including abortion care. We’ve seen those bills in our communities in recent years and we’ve beaten every one of them back,” State Senator Cathy Breen. told an energized crowd.
The State Senator continued to an attentive crowd that in recent years the Maine Legislature working with Governor Janet Mills, Maine’s first woman governor, has improved access to reproductive health care, including abortion care. “We must continue to elect governors who are champions of these issues………elections are vital to keeping Maine healthy and free…..I urge you to get more involved and make sure that you’re working to elect people in Augusta who will protect and improve the rights and access to health care that all of us hold so dear.”
At the end of the l l/2 hour pro-choice rally, a letter from Governor Janet T. Mills, was read by MC Viva: “Maine has expanded access to abortion providers. My administration is committed to providing everyone with quality health care. We are fighting the faces of those who want to roll back our reproductive rights.”
The Governor was attending an unrelated event in Bath this morning.
For more background information, please visit post herein dated September 29, 2021.