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Hundreds of pro-choice supporters rally for abortion rights in Portland

Abortion rights supporters in Portland Saturday.
Carol Bousquet
Maine Public
Pro-choice supporters at an abortion rights rally in Portland Saturday

Several hundred pro-choice supporters rallied for abortion rights in downtown Portland on Saturday. Activists spoke out against the new Texas law which restricts abortions after six weeks of pregnancy. Abortion providers, including Bangor-based practitioner Dr. Rachel Criswell, say their patients come needing support, not judgement, and laws targeting their reproductive rights must be defeated.

"Make no mistake, this law targets pregnant people, people of color, people of low income, immigrants," she said. "This is sexist, racist, classist legislation."

Speakers rallied the crowd to take action, to call their legislators, and to run for office to ensure abortion rights remain intact in Maine. Julie Jenkins, a nurse practitioner with Maine Family Planning, says all supporters must be vigilant.

"Here in Maine we fought back against a half dozen bills brought to the legislature last session. And we did win those fights," she said. "But do not believe because of those victories we are safe. Do not believe it cannot happen here."

Abortion rights activists speak to supporters in Portland Saturday.
Carol Bousquet
Abortions rights activists speak to supporters in Portland Saturday.
Pro-choice supporters at a Portland rally Saturday.
Carol Bousquet
Pro-choice supporters listen to speakers at an abortion rights rally in Portland Saturday.

Rally organizers asked supporters to lobby for the Women's Health Protection Act that will protect the right to access abortion care throughout the United States. Sen. Angus King and Rep. Chellie Pingree are co-sponsors of the bill. The Women's March and Planned Parenthood were joined by several human rights groups for the Portland rally. More than 600 similar events were held across the country Saturday.