What Planned Parenthood knows about LePage’s positions

BDN photo by Gabor Degre.

BDN photo by Gabor Degre.

At Planned Parenthood’s endorsement event for Mike Michaud, Nicole Clegg noted that there was no way that Gov. Paul LePage could have received the group’s support.

While the governor has not spent a lot of time on abortion as an issue, Clegg called LePage an “outspoken opponent of reproductive rights.”

Clegg is right.

In 2014, LePage attended an Augusta rally marking the anniversary of Roe v. Wade.

At the start of his 10-minute speech, LePage told everyone in the audience under 41 years of age to stand. “Each and every one of you should thank your parents because you’re here today and you’re not one of the victims,” he said. [source]

LePage didn’t go to the annual rally in 2013 because he had the flu.

But he did attend the one in 2012, an event where participants marched to the capitol with “signs printed by National Right to Life that said, ‘Stop the Obama abortion agenda.’”

Emrich said opponents of abortion rights need to work hard to be successful, but some of their work is already paying off. The election of Gov. Paul LePage, who shares their views and attended the rally at St. Michael on Saturday, is one sign of their success, Emrich said. [source]

And soon after his inauguration, Gov. LePage attended the 2011 rally.

In a clear reminder of the shifting political landscape, Republican Gov. Paul LePage attended part of the rally before the march. LePage, who says his views on abortion are shaped by his Catholicism, did not address the group but was greeted with a standing ovation from the crowd. [source]

Maine has had a number of prominent pro-choice Republicans

Among recent politicians, these include Senators Snowe and Collins, as well as Kevin Raye.

Moreover, nationally, the Republican party used to have many high-profile politicians who supported Planned Parenthood.

President Richard Nixon signed family-planning legislation in 1970 that authorized federal funding for groups such as Planned Parenthood, which Republicans now want to cut. Former Sen. Barry Goldwater’s wife, Peggy, was a founding member of Planned Parenthood in Arizona. And George H.W. Bush, as a Republican Congressman from Houston, spoke so frequently on the House floor about the issue that he was tagged with an eyebrow-raising nickname.

“He was so supportive of family planning that people called him ‘Rubbers,’” said Gloria Feldt, who was national president of Planned Parenthood from 1996 until 2005. [source]

Olympia Snowe and her husband have won the group’s Barry Goldwater Award.

However, the Maine GOP party platform opposes legal abortion and one observer of Maine politics attributes Raye’s congressional primary loss to Bruce Poliquin to Poliquin’s visits to evangelical churches and Poliquin’s touting of his pro-life position.

And Gov. LePage’s are aligned with that party platform and with Republican congressional nominee Poliquin.

Amy Fried

About Amy Fried

Amy Fried loves Maine's sense of community and the wonderful mix of culture and outdoor recreation. She loves politics in three ways: as an analytical political scientist, a devoted political junkie and a citizen who believes politics matters for people's lives. Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. Her views do not reflect those of her employer or any group to which she belongs.