In this May 3, 2022, file photo, demonstrators protest outside the federal courthouse in Portland against overturning Roe v. Wade. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday overturned the nearly 50-year-old precedent upholding the right to abortion.

That news was met with widespread condemnation from all corners of the state, though some applauded the decision.

Here are the reactions from the most prominent Mainers and organizations to Friday’s decision.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills

“This decision is a fundamental assault on women’s rights and on reproductive freedom that will do nothing to stop abortion. In fact, it will only make abortion less safe and jeopardize the lives of women across the nation. In Maine, I will defend the right to reproductive health care with everything I have, and I pledge to the people of Maine that, so long as I am Governor, my veto pen will stand in the way of any effort to undermine, rollback, or outright eliminate the right to safe and legal abortion in Maine.”

Former Republican Congressman Bruce Poliquin

“My wife tragically died while our son was still in diapers. I understand how fragile and precious life really is. That is why I have always supported life. The U.S. Supreme Court has returned decisions about abortion to the state government level where I agree they should remain.”

Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash

“Unfortunately, today’s devastating decision made by a conservative majority on the U.S. Supreme Court to restrict the right to an abortion and erode almost 50 years of precedent does not come as a shock. However, that doesn’t make this reality any easier to swallow nor does it do much to alleviate the fear that millions of Mainers and Americans are experiencing.


“The right to decide if and when to start a family is fundamental to who we are as Americans and our freedom. It’s a deeply personal decision that should not be made by politicians or justices. In the wake of this decision, please know that Maine Senate Democrats will fight back against efforts to undermine abortion rights and stand united for reproductive freedom.”

Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli, D-Arrowsic

“There are those of us who remember a time before Roe v. Wade — when people were forced to go underground and put their lives on the line to access an abortion. Far too many of us know far too well that banning abortion doesn’t stop people from getting abortions, it just stops people from getting safe abortions. This ruling from the Supreme Court is unconscionable. Rather than protecting the sanctity of life, it will only endanger the lives of everyday people. I vowed in my youth to fight for the right to access abortion care, and it’s clear this fight is far from over. I join with countless people across our state when I say, despite this decision handed down to us from Washington, Maine will not go back.”

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Mattie Daughtry, D-Brunswick

“Abortion is health care, and health care is a human right. No health care decision is made easier or better by having a politician or judge get in the way. What the Supreme Court has done today will hurt people across our country, but especially those who are already marginalized — people of color, people from low-income households, and people trying to survive domestic abuse. I’m proud that our Legislature has done so much in the past few years to ensure Mainers have access to quality reproductive health care, regardless of how much money they make or where they live. Maine lawmakers will continue to do all we can to protect this right, even as those who sit on the highest court of the land fail us.”

Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey

“Even with the knowledge that the Supreme Court was poised to overturn the longstanding precedent in Roe v. Wade, I still find myself gutted by this reality. Today’s decision, coupled with the Court’s decision in Carson v. Makin, is the culmination of years of work by the religious right to use personally held beliefs to control public life, and now, literally what control women have over their bodies. It also signals the extremity of the values represented in the majority of the Supreme Court and its casual willingness to undermine any respect for precedent in achieving its desired ends. That said, I want to be clear: despite this decision, abortion remains legal in Maine. But now we have been reminded that this right is vulnerable and requires vigorous protection. Maine policymakers are now the last line of defense of this right. I promise that as Attorney General, I will continue to do everything in my power to ensure unfettered access to abortion services.”  

Maine Democratic Party Chair Drew Gattine

“Now that the Supreme Court has officially overturned Roe v. Wade and millions of women across the country are about to lose their freedom to have an abortion, one thing is clear: the future of abortion in Maine is on the ballot this November. We are fortunate in Maine to currently have a Governor in Janet Mills who is a passionate defender of abortion rights and a Democratically controlled legislature that will steadfastly protect those rights. However, with Roe

gone — in part because of Susan Collins’ votes for Brett Kavanaugh and other virulently anti-choice justices — Governor Mills and her Democratic colleagues in the legislature are the only thing keeping abortion safe and legal in our state. Paul LePage and other anti-abortion Republicans on the ballot this November present the greatest threat to abortion rights in recent Maine history. We must re-elect Governor Mills and our Democratic majorities this November in order to protect the rights, safety, and future of not just Maine women but all Maine people.”

U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine

“The threshold question of whether abortion is legal needs to be consistent at a national level. States can account for regional differences with regulations like parental notification requirements, but the basic right needs to be the same for all American women.


“The Supreme Court has abandoned a fifty-year precedent at a time that the country is desperate for stability. This ill-considered action will further divide the country at a moment when, more than ever in modern times, we need the Court to show both consistency and restraint. Throwing out a precedent overnight that the country has relied upon for half a century is not conservative. It is a sudden and radical jolt to the country that will lead to political chaos, anger, and a further loss of confidence in our government.


“This decision is inconsistent with what Justices Gorsuch and Kavanaugh said in their testimony and their meetings with me, where they both were insistent on the importance of supporting long-standing precedents that the country has relied upon.


“Earlier this year, Senator Murkowski and I introduced the Reproductive Choice Act to codify the abortion rights established by Roe v. Wade and affirmed by Planned Parenthood v. Casey. I am also working with Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) on a bipartisan bill that would codify Roe, Casey, Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, and Griswold v. Connecticut. Our legislation would enshrine important abortion protections into law without undercutting statutes that have been in place for decades and without eliminating basic conscience protections that are relied upon by health care providers who have religious objections to performing abortions.


“Our goal with this legislation is to do what the Court should have done — provide the consistency in our abortion laws that Americans have relied upon for 50 years.”

U.S. Sen. Angus King, I-Maine

“Today’s decision to overturn nearly half a century of precedent upon precedent is a dangerous, blatantly political ruling that will rob millions of women [of] the fundamental right to make decisions about their own health, safety, and lives. The right to a safe, legal abortion has been reaffirmed by the Court time and time again — but this new majority has decided to overwrite longstanding precedent to impose their own personal and religious views on women across the country. This ruling goes against the wishes of the majority of Americans, and lays a terrifying groundwork for this Court to unravel many other hard-earned civil rights in the years ahead.


“This decision is deeply infuriating, but it is unfortunately not a surprise. Beyond being telegraphed in the leaked decision earlier this year, this decision firmly aligns with the clear, decades-long conservative campaign to fill our nation’s court system with ideologically-driven judges who would vote to end abortion access. This goal was made explicit by former President Donald Trump, who promised to only appoint judges who would overturn Roe. This promise, along with each nominee’s clear hostility towards a woman’s right to choose, were among the main reasons that I voted against Justices Gorsuch, Kavanaugh, and Barrett. For all the fear-mongering about so-called ‘judicial activism’ by some conservative lawmakers, their chosen judges clearly do not hesitate to overturn precedent, override popular sentiment, and overreach beyond the Court’s historic incremental approach.  


“The impacts of this ruling will reverberate in communities throughout America – but fortunately, Maine women will not be denied this basic right thanks to protections in our state constitution and the leadership of Governor Mills. However, this does not change the fact that far too many across the country will not be so lucky, and will be penalized for the crime of living in the wrong state. This decision will make healthcare services more difficult to access for millions, and the lives of low-income Americans who cannot afford to travel to a state where abortion is legal will be unnecessarily put at risk. Let me be clear, this decision will not lead to the banning of abortion, no matter how earnestly its opponents and the majority of this court may desire it. What it will do is facilitate the banning of safe abortions, to the detriment of women in all corners of our country.


“While there is no clear or easy path to reverse this decision, I will continue doing everything in my power to protect this fundamental right. I will pursue any possible compromise and will not rest until women across the nation can once again make this personal decision with the input of loved ones and medical professionals — not the government.”

Former U.S. Sen. Olympia Snowe, R-Maine

“This devastating decision rolling back a half-century of precedent on a woman’s constitutional right to make her own decision is a travesty of justice. It is inconceivable that, in 21st century America, we have arrived at this tragic and undeniable retrenchment of women’s rights.”

U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-Maine

“Today’s catastrophic ruling is the culmination of a decades-long effort by Republican extremists to install anti-choice justices on a High Court that routinely overrules Congress and the public’s will with impunity. Enabled by Senate Republicans, this shamefully partisan Supreme Court has decided against the more than 70% of Americans who want Roe v. Wade upheld.

“Government control of reproduction is downright totalitarian. It is never in the best interest of society for politicians to decide when a person must give birth. Today’s ruling is rooted in ideological zealotry, not the common good. As a direct result of this decision, women will now be jailed for seeking abortion care while others will die because of pregnancy complications and unsafe self-abortion treatments.

“Adding insult to injury, Justice Alito and his colleagues in the majority have demonstrated a crushing ignorance about the historical rights of women under our Constitution — women were unenfranchised and regarded as property when our nation was founded. We should not strive to return to that dark era. Six radical justices, appointed by Presidents who lost the popular vote, have destroyed nearly 50 years of established legal precedent upon which tens of millions of people in this country have relied. In Roe’s place, the justices’ personal beliefs will impose unimaginable suffering for women and families across the country and worsen America’s already abysmal generational poverty crisis.”

U.S. Rep. Jared Golden, D-Maine

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court is a grave mistake. The majority opinion is wrong on principle and it is wrong on the merits, tossing aside decades of established precedent. In many parts of the country, there will be serious and harmful consequences for millions of women.


“Here in Maine, the reproductive healthcare decisions of women remain protected under current state law. Today’s decision should remind us just how important it is to fight for state legislative majorities that will safeguard the right of a woman to make private decisions about her body. And while the odds of success may be long, I believe Congress should work to find ways to protect women’s rights to the greatest extent possible by codifying as much of the Roe and Casey frameworks as possible within the constraints of our narrow majorities, even if we are unable to preserve the entire pre-Dobbs status quo.”

Maine Medical Association

“The Maine Medical Association is steadfast in its position that all medical care, including the very personal and private decision of abortion, is best determined by individuals and their trusted physicians.

It is the public policy of the State that the State not restrict a woman’s exercise of her private decision to terminate a pregnancy before viability.” We will vigorously oppose any future proposals that try eliminating that access or intrude into patient autonomy, privacy, the patient–physician relationship, or that unfairly impact minoritized populations.”

Portland Mayor Kate Snyder

“While many of us feared the Supreme Court was moving toward overturning the long-standing constitutional protections for abortions and reproductive freedom, I am still in shock and disbelief they would abandon this precedent. This is a reprehensible decision, one that is an unnecessary assault on women and those who have a uterus. We have real problems in this country, major issues that our leaders should be working to address. And yet here we are, in 2022, still buying into the notion that abortion is a problem we need to solve.

Reproductive freedoms should not be a state by state decision. While I am thankful that abortion will still be legal in Maine, and thankful for [Gov. Janet] Mills’ commitment to uphold that right, I am saddened that this decision will harm those who aren’t as privileged to have safe and timely access to the healthcare they deserve. And I’m afraid of what this decision means for the other landmark cases that currently hold precedent in our country.”

Nicole Clegg, vice president of public affairs at Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund

“By overturning Roe v. Wade, the Supreme Court has now officially given politicians permission to control what we do with our bodies, deciding that we can no longer be trusted to determine the course for our own lives. This dangerous and chilling decision will have devastating consequences across the country, forcing people to travel hundreds, sometimes thousands, of miles for care or remain pregnant.

“To be clear, abortion is still legal in Maine. But laws can be changed. Paul LePage is hostile to abortion rights as are a number of Maine politicians. If a majority of anti-abortion politicians take control of the legislature or the Blaine House, they could pass laws restricting or even banning abortion here in Maine. Maine people overwhelmingly want abortion to remain legal. We must hold our candidates and elected officials accountable and ensure they will not only keep abortion legal in Maine, but work to make abortion more accessible for all.”

Destie Hohman Sprague, executive director at Maine Women’s Lobby

“Today’s decision looks back at our Constitution for guidance  — a document written by and for white, land-owning men. The needs, lives, and experiences of women were explicitly left unaddressed and unprotected. Women were not considered citizens. This was doubly true for women of color, who not only were not seen as citizens but were more often than not enslaved. The norms set in the founding have made abortion nearly impossible for people who experience white supremacy and patriarchal oppression: Black, Indigenous, and women of color; trans people; poor people, and people located in states where there access to cast free and fair votes is denied or restricted.


“Now, the Supreme Court — a body made up almost exclusively for and by white, cisgender men  — are looking back to that time as the light that they follow. In doing so, they are dimming the light of freedom and autonomy for so many. Abortion care opens the door to gender equity, and no matter what, we refuse to let that door close.”

Meagan Sway, policy director at the Maine ACLU


“Abortion is legal and protected by Maine state law, thanks to the tireless work of advocates, lawmakers and abortion providers who recognize that the right to decide when and if to have a child is a fundamental right. In Maine, we have taken action to safeguard abortion access and affordability, and our elected leaders must do everything they can to protect the gains we have made. States like Maine that protect abortion access will now play an even more critical role in providing care to people from states that ban or severely restrict abortion. Lawmakers should ensure that anyone in our state who seeks or provides access to abortion is protected. In November, we have to vote like our rights depend on it, because they do.”


Carol Garvan, the legal director Maine ACLU


“In case this is news to the Supreme Court: we do not live in 1789, when only white men who owned property had rights and counted as people. In over 230 years of struggle, the Constitution has been amended and interpreted to include and recognize more people and more rights. We have worked together to make this document worthy of a democracy that includes people of color, women, LGBTQ+ people, immigrants, people with disabilities, and many others. The question of abortion is a question of citizenship: who is recognized as a member of our nation, worthy of protection, worthy of having rights, worthy of enjoying the ‘blessings of liberty’ the Constitution promises. We will not go back to 1789. We will only move forward. We will be fearless in the courts, in the legislature, at the ballot box and in the streets to make sure ‘we the people’ means all of us.”


“For the first time, the Supreme Court has ended an individual constitutional right, turning its back on the American people,” said Gia Drew, executive director of Equality Maine. “This is an attack on our ability to live our lives safely and access health care. People of all genders need access to abortion. LGBTQ+ Americans already face significant barriers to accessing health care, and abortion bans will make that even worse, espeically for poor, black, indigenous, and people of color. This ruling is a continuation of the assault on the ability of women, including LGBTQ+ people to control our bodies and make decisions about starting a family.”

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders Executive Director Janson Wu

“Every person in this country should be deeply alarmed by this shameful ruling, which is simply not normal and should be beyond the bounds of what is thinkable for the body entrusted to uphold our constitutional freedoms. A majority of Justices of the Supreme Court has overturned a half-century-old precedent protecting a vital individual right — a right re-affirmed by this same Court as recently as six years ago – and held open the door for a return to dangerous government intrusion into our most personal decisions and freedoms.

“There is no doubt this decision will have devastating consequences for millions of women and for anyone who can become pregnant. The consequences of restricting or completely banning abortion, as some states are poised to do, will fall hardest on people and families of color and those without the financial resources to travel out of state or seek alternative routes to care. This includes members of the LGBTQ community, who also get pregnant and need access to abortion care.  

“Today’s decision comes amid grave and escalating assaults on many fundamental liberties. We must rally together across all our communities to push back against these extreme assaults.  We will fight alongside our partners and at every level of state and federal government and in the courts for the right of transgender people to access life-saving healthcare and for parents’ basic right to seek that care for their transgender children; for the rights of LGBTQ students and students with LGBTQ families to be welcomed and included in schools; to protect the recognition of our relationships; to ensure stronger protections for LGBTQ families and all families; and for access to abortion, contraception and reproductive choice.”

Maine Center for Economic Policy

“The US Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v Wade strikes a calamitous blow against decades of legal precedent, dangerously impacting health, privacy, and self-determination for millions of Americans. In doing so, it also strikes a blow to Americans’ ability to manage their economic futures.

“Reproductive rights cannot be separated from economic and workplace rights. Restricting access to comprehensive reproductive care, including abortion, threatens the autonomy, health, and economic stability of working people.

“Abortion bans disproportionately harm Black, Latino, Indigenous, and other people of color, because of this country’s legacy of racism and discrimination. Abortion bans strip us of our freedom to control our own body and are a product of the historic and systemic barriers to care that too many communities face every day.

“Maine responded to previous threats to comprehensive reproductive health services by solidifying reproductive protections in Maine law. While there is currently a state law protecting legal abortion in Maine, this decision could put Maine laws at risk.

“Maine’s congressional delegation must stand up for the millions of impacted Americans and their financial stability by pledging now to codify Roe through federal legislation.”

Christian Civic League of Maine

“The Christian Civic League of Maine has always been committed to the basic belief that every human life is sacred and worth protecting, from conception to natural death. Because human choices cannot morally infringe upon a human life, the Christian Civic League has consistently fought for providing alternatives to women who are faced with the heartbreaking choice between their future and the life of another.


“It is true that in the age when Roe v. Wade was first decided, these alternatives may not have been so obvious. Today, however, it is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore the growing number of pregnancy centers and couples waiting to adopt. The existence of these resources make the choice to kill a child one that need not even be considered.


“This is why the Christian Civic League celebrates the Supreme Court’s decision in Dobbs v. Jackson. Even though the overturning of Roe v. Wade would not immediately affect the rights of the unborn in Maine, it will create a platform to begin a conversation over whether those rights ought to be protected. In the words of Policy Director Mike McClellan, ‘While this would end the Federal presence in the abortion fight, the battle would simply now fall to the states.’


“As the debate over the rights of the unborn continues, the Christian Civic League plans to continue to support and promote ways to help women in crisis other than abortion. Our hope is that the willingness of churches and communities to assist women in crisis will make it obvious that every child can be guaranteed a loving family from conception to natural death.”

Bishop Robert Deeley, Roman Catholic Diocese of Portland

“Today’s decision reaffirms the truth that every life is sacred, and it promotes protection for women and children from the grave injustice of abortion. We welcome the possibility of saving the lives of countless unborn children as well as sparing many women and families from pain. The Diocese of Portland will continue to accompany any woman, regardless of faith, who is experiencing difficulties in pregnancy through our various Catholic agencies in Maine, including pregnancy help centers and parish-based initiatives like Walking with Moms in Need. As well, we will support and assist those who have been involved in an abortion through our Project Rachel program. God is merciful, and it is of paramount importance that people who experience distress grow in understanding of this truth and are guided on a path to emotional and spiritual healing.”

Concerned Women for America Maine State Director Penny Morrell

“The Supreme Court has finally overturned Roe, and now it is up to us, the people of Maine, to do our part. We must now work tirelessly to elect legislators and a governor who support the culture of life. We are pro-women, pro-babies, and pro-families. We support life from conception to natural death and pregnancy centers that help women make the best decision to keep their babies. Adoption and many other options are available that better serve families.

“The Dobbs decision will allow the citizens of Maine to debate and discuss this issue with their state legislators. Decisions about abortion going forward will be made by Mainers, not by judges. That is something worth celebrating!”