41st Anniversary of Roe Points To Different Approaches In ME Senate Race
41 years after the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade, the Maine Senate race highlights different approaches to federal restrictions on access to birth control and contraception. Democratic candidate for United States Senate, Shenna Bellows, who has been a long-time advocate of reproductive freedom as head of the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine and an active member of the Maine Choice Coalition, favors no restrictions.
“Decisions about medical care including abortion and contraception should be made by a woman and her doctor, not her boss and not the government,” said Bellows. “A key difference between my opponent and I is that I would not have voted for the Blunt Amendment to allow employers to block access for their employees to birth control or any other health care service. We need strong leaders in Washington who will stand up for women’s health.”
Susan Collins voted in favor of the Blunt Amendment to allow employers to opt out of covering any service in employee health insurance plans if the employer has a religious or moral objection to the service.  The Blunt Amendment failed, but conservative groups and employers have challenged the Affordable Care Act requirement that birth control be covered by employer-based insurance plans. Those cases – Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc. v. Sebelius and Conestoga Wood Specialties Corp. v Sebelius – will be decided by the United States Supreme Court this term. Supreme Court appointments are another difference in the race. Susan Collins voted to support the lifetime appointments of Justice John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.
“Politicians in Washington who are willing to compromise women’s health are out of step with public opinion that overwhelmingly favors legal access to abortion and contraception,” said Bellows. “I never would have voted for Justices Alito and Roberts, who may change women’s health forever this term, just as they did when they ruled in favor of Citizens United. I will be a champion of women’s health in Washington, just as I was in Maine.”
Bellows played a key role in lobbying for women’s reproductive health in the State House in Augusta. She organized Republican support for reproductive choice in 2011 when Maine saw a large number of bills introduced attacking abortion and contraception. She has been recognized for her advocacy on women’s health by Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center with the 2012 Torch Award and the American Association of University Women – Maine Chapter 2013 Achievement Citation Award.