Gov. Paul LePage and U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin will both attend an annual anti-abortion rally Saturday to commemorate the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in the United States.
Both candidates are anti-abortion. LePage has attended and spoken at the annual “Hands around the Capitol” event in previous years, but his staff said Friday that while he would attend this year, he was not scheduled to give any remarks, though that doesn’t necessarily mean he won’t speak if asked.
Poliquin is scheduled to speak, according to his staff.
The event is designed to “publicly recognize and mourn the Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade while providing an intense impact on those who witness our solemn march” from St. Michael School to the State House.
Although LePage has not made policy related to the issue a priority of his administration, his personal anti-abortion views are well-known. He has received a 0 percent ranking from NARAL Pro-Choice America while receiving a 86 percent rating from the Maine Right to Life Committee, the group organizing Saturday’s event.
Poliquin has stated that while he is personally against abortion, the issues is personal, not political. Like LePage, he’s not made abortion a touchstone issue in his political career, but he did reach out to evangelical leaders during this year’s congressional election, one of whom said “the life issue was the deciding factor” in Poliquin’s primary campaign victory.
Poliquin could cast a vote on abortion rights soon, as Republicans push for a ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
The rally with LePage and Poliquin — as well as Maine Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason, R-Lisbon — is scheduled for 11:15 a.m. at St. Michael School.
On the other side of the issue, Planned Parenthood Maine will also mark the 42nd anniversary of Roe v. Wade this month — but with a celebration, not a mournful march and prayer. The decision is more important than ever as it sees “more and more legislation moving forward at the state and federal level designed to restrict access” to abortion, said PPM’s vice president for public policy, Nicole Clegg.
The group will host a viewing of the 2014 dramedy “Obvious Child” on Jan. 22 at the University of Southern Maine. The film stars Jenny Slate as a stand-up comic who accidentally becomes pregnant and has an abortion, and gained plaudits for its portrayal of the emotional and interpersonal complexities of making that choice.