Abortion rights are under attack, and these attacks are accelerating. Alabama recently signed into law a bill to outlaw all abortions and imprison medical professionals who perform abortions with a sentence of up to 99 years. Georgia has outlawed abortions after six weeks – a window of time so limited that the majority of people wouldn’t be able to tell if they are pregnant until it is too late. Missouri’s Senate passed a bill that would outlaw abortion after eight weeks, with no exceptions for rape or incest, and would imprison medical professionals with a sentence of up to 15 years. Kentucky and Ohio have also signed into law bills outlawing abortion after six weeks, and Louisiana currently has a bill in front of their state senate to the do the same. The effects aren’t just limited to the United States, either. Abortion access is under attack worldwide thanks to the United States pulling aid to humanitarian groups that provide abortions.
Many previous attempts to pass similar bills have failed, even after states have passed them, because the Supreme Court has overturned those decisions on the foundations of Roe v. Wade. However, the possibility of the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade now looms closer after the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh, a Trump-appointed anti-choice advocate, thanks in-part to Maine’s own Senator Susan Collins.
Even in Maine, where we have a Democratic majority in both the House and Senate, as well as a Democratic Governor, abortion rights still face obstacles. The Maine legislature recently passed LD820, which requires Mainecare (Maine’s Medicaid program) to fund abortions for all who rely on the program. While this law does help ensure access to abortions for many working Mainers, it grants an exemption that allows employer-based health insurance programs to deny coverage for abortions on “religious” grounds. This demonstrates the limits of private health insurance, which puts workers’ right to healthcare at the whims of employers. As such, many Mainers could still be denied abortions, regardless of a Democratic trifecta.
We in Southern Maine DSA believe in free abortions, on demand, without apology. We stand in solidarity with our comrades in Alabama and Georgia, whose rights are being taken away. We stand in solidarity with our comrades in every state, whose rights are under attack. We stand in solidarity with our comrades in every nation, whose rights are not secured. We stand strongly against this blatant push to overturn Roe v. Wade and strip away the right to abortion.
Upholding Roe v. Wade and keeping abortion legal is only half the battle. The Hyde Amendment, which was passed shortly after Roe v. Wade, prevents federal funding from being used for abortions. This is a huge barrier for low-income people who need abortions, making it so abortion rights are really only protected for those wealthy enough to afford them. We need universal healthcare to even the playing field so that everyone can receive the care they need. Until then, we need abortion funds to help those with immediate medical needs.
Southern Maine DSA raised funds throughout April for the National Network of Abortion Funds. Our members raised awareness of the existence of abortion funds while raising a grand total of $3,030. In addition to fundraising, we hosted two workshops alongside Maine Family Planning. These workshops provided the facts on abortion procedures and the history of abortion advocacy in Maine. Anti-choice activists use misleading information and scare tactics to push their agenda. Understanding how abortions really work is critical in a world where our rights are being attacked by lies. If we are going to fight for bodily autonomy, we need to be armed with the truth.
We must continue to fight against the anti-choice movement. As a socialist organization dedicated to human liberation, Southern Maine DSA is committed to organizing to ensure that all people have their rights to healthcare and bodily autonomy respected, and that includes free abortion, on demand, and without apology.