A new video compilation shows the extreme views that many Republican candidates running for the Maine Legislature this year hold against abortion rights.
With Roe v. Wade now overturned, the Maine Democratic Party, which released the video Thursday, said the statements make it plain that if Maine Republicans win a legislative majority in November, they will try to dismantle the state’s abortion protections.
The video begins with Rep. Peter Lyford, the Republican candidate for a vacant seat in Maine Senate District 10, saying he opposes abortion even in cases when the pregnant person’s life is in danger.
“I have always been against abortion. I don’t believe abortion at all,” he said in an interview with the Christian Civic League of Maine, the state’s leading opponent of abortion rights. “Nobody can call it that the doctor may say, ‘Well, I think the mother’s gonna die.’ I believe there will always be somebody there to take care of the child.”
NEW VIDEO: While Paul LePage dodges questions on abortion rights, his @MaineGOP friends running for office are giving away the game. They're letting us know that they intend to pursue an anti-abortion agenda in Augusta. #mepolitics pic.twitter.com/ttVnaMn6iY
— Maine Democrats (@MaineDems) July 7, 2022
The video then cuts to former Senate and Congressional candidate Eric Brakey, a Republican running for Senate District 20.
“I think that future generations are going to look back at us today and wonder how we tolerated the mass genocide taking place in abortion clinics across America. […] I think that we do have an obligation,” said the libertarian who often argues that the government should not impede on personal liberties. “I think that a just government is a government that not just respects life, but actively defends it for both the born and the unborn.”
Sen. Trey Stewart, who is running for re-election in Senate District 2, was previously the whip for the House Republicans. He told the Christian Civic League, “I’m pro-life. Abortion should not be a viable form of contraceptive, right?”
Greg Foster, the Republican candidate for House District 86, told the league prior to the U.S. Supreme Court decision overturning Roe. “I am in favor of not allowing abortion, and I like the potential that Roe v. Wade is going to be overturned,” he said. “The other thing that bothers me about abortion and the freedom to get it done is that is that the father of the child is often not considered. And I think he’s a very important person in making the decision to abort or not.”
Eric Rojo, a candidate for Senate District 8, said: “I believe that the unborn are part of the citizens that must be protected by the Constitution.”
The video was released after former Gov. Paul LePage tried to distance himself from his anti-abortion past. As governor, he attended and spoke at the Maine Right to Life’s annual “Hands Around the Capitol” rally, where protestors encircled the State House to pray for the overturning of Roe. At a 2016 rally he said, “We should not have abortion.”
The video shows clips of LePage, now running as the Republican candidate for governor, evading a reporter’s questions about whether he would repeal abortion protection if re-elected in November. “I don’t know,” LePage said. “You don’t have an opinion on that?” the reporter asked. “I don’t have an opinion,” he said.
He told another reporter: “I don’t have time for abortion.”
Maine Democratic Party Chair Drew Gattine tweeted out the video with his response to LePage.
“Paul LePage and the Maine GOP can continue to give evasive and deceptive answers, treating Maine voters like they’re stupid,” he said. “But there’s no doubt what’s at stake if they gain any control in Augusta.”
While LePage has sidestepped questions about his intentions, Gov. Janet Mills on Wednesday issued an executive order that prohibits any state employee or agency from cooperating with any other state’s investigation of any person, organization, or provider who delivers legal reproductive health care in Maine.
The video released by Maine Democrats shows several state Republicans highlighting their connection to the anti-abortion movement and Christian Civic League, which recently celebrated the repeal of Roe.
“Twelve years ago, July 2010, I sat down to write my first appeal letter as the new executive director of the Christian Civic League,” wrote executive director Carroll Conley in his July newsletter to members. “I must admit, I did not imagine at that time that twelve years later, I would be penning a letter celebrating the overturning of the worst Supreme Court decision of our lifetime — Roe v. Wade.”
“The pro-life movement was where I started. That was my priority when I began in politics,” said Republican candidate for House District 134 Elizabeth Jordan.
“I did work with the Christian Civic League. It was actually the start of my interest in politics,” said Katrina Smith, a Republican running for House District 62.
Video still of former Gov. Paul LePage and Senate District 20 candidate Eric Brakey.