A coalition of faith-based and pro-life groups in Maine is leading a “people’s veto campaign” to attempt to overturn at the ballot box in November a new law that legalizes taxpayer funding of elective abortions.
The groups include Concerned Women for America (CWA) of Maine and Christian Civic League of Maine.
“It’s a clear statement to our legislators that the people of Maine do not want this,” Penny Morrell, state director of Maine’s CWA chapter, told Breitbart News during an interview. “We have the Hyde Amendment where we pay for abortions for rape, incest, or if the health of the mother is in danger, but this is for elective abortions for everybody that are taxpayer-funded.”
Morrell said the coalition filed its application with the state for a referendum campaign last week. The state has ten days to respond to discuss the language of the referendum. Once the state and the groups agree, the coalition organizers then have until mid-September to submit approximately 63,000 signatures from registered Maine voters in order to qualify for the November ballot.
UPDATE on our People's Veto efforts for LD 820 (Tax Payer Funded Abortion) and LD 1313 (Physician Assisted Suicide). The process to start is we filed an application for LD 820 on June 20 and filed an application for LD 1313 yesterday, June 27th. CONT…
— Christian Civic League of Maine (@CCLMaine) June 28, 2019
Both Morrell and coalition colleague Carroll Conley, executive director of Christian Civic League of Maine, agree “elections have consequences.”
The leaders are seeing the dramatic shift leftward in the Pine Tree State as both chambers of the state legislature are now controlled by Democrats and Democrat Gov. Janet Mills is the state’s chief executive.
Morrell said the recent passage into law of bills such as those that legalize both taxpayer funding of elective abortion and assisted suicide has also “awakened the ire” of those who tend to sit back when it comes to political activism.
“We have never seen such an outpouring of opposition to what is happening,” she said. “We had people coming out of the woodwork and standing with us against these bills,” she continued, noting that many Democrats are opposed to taxpayer funding of elective abortions as well.
“Maine has taken an outlier position on taxpayer funding of abortion – most states do not fund elective abortions,” Conley also told Breitbart News.
“I’m incredibly disappointed in what’s happening in Maine,” he said. “In my nine years as executive director of the Christian Civic League, the pushback against laws such as L.D. 820 is the greatest I’ve ever experienced from our supporters.”
The legislation, which Mills signed into law, equates abortion with maternity care and requires Maine’s Medicaid program, known as MaineCare, and private insurers to cover elective abortions just as they pay for maternity care.
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England said its own polling data showed most Mainers support insurance coverage of elective abortion services.
“Maine voters have traditionally been reluctant to take away the rights of and protections of people,” Nicole Clegg, vice president of public policy at Planned Parenthood, said, according to the Press Herald. “Trying to take away coverage of abortion from people who desperately need it is going to be deeply unpopular.”
However, a Tarrance group poll released in May by the pro-life Susan B. Anthony List and the Christian Civic League of Maine showed 62 percent of Maine voters oppose taxpayer funding of abortion, including 60 percent of independents, 44 percent of Democrats, 64 percent of women, and 38% of self-described pro-choice voters.
Data was collected via telephone interviews of 400 registered Maine voters between April 29 and May 2, 2019. The survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 4.9 percent in 95 out of 100 cases.
Conley explained his organization will be “relying on our church network, engaging people all over Maine” for the people’s veto campaign.
He observed several groups were able to reverse the same-sex marriage act in 2009 after the state legislature passed it with a people’s veto campaign.
“They did a tremendous job going from church to church at that time, and we’re following that same model now,” he added.