June 21, 2018
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Mike Michaud’s evolution on abortion rights is confusing; Eliot Cutler has proven his record

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Mike Michaud thanks Planned Parenthood's Maine Action Fund for their endorsement at an event in Portland last June.
By Wendy Pieh, Special to the BDN

I live on a farm in Bremen in Lincoln County and served as a Democratic legislator for eight years in the state House of Representatives.

I am amazed and disappointed by Planned Parenthood’s support of Mike Michaud not because Mike isn’t a nice person — he is — but because Planned Parenthood has strayed from its own mission, chosen to support a weak candidate and, in turn, damaged its own reputation on an issue that is important to women everywhere.

It is thanks to the very hard, long-term, sustained and ongoing work of people like Eliot Cutler that women now have the right to choose.

Eliot Cutler has always stood for women’s rights, from family planning and Planned Parenthood to making our own medical decisions.

His mother was active in Bangor working on behalf of women’s reproductive rights, his daughter is in her residency as an OB-GYN, and Cutler has testified publicly in support of our right to choose.

I served in the Maine State Legislature at the same time as Michaud. Every year, several bills would be introduced recommending new laws that would undermine and destroy a woman’s right to choose.

On every one to those bills I voted to support choice, and on every one of those bills Mike Michaud voted against choice.

Every one.

It is confusing to me how someone can do a complete 180-degree shift on the moral and religious convictions around choice.

I have always respected that there are many Democrats who are pro-life, and this is the first time that I have ever heard of someone changing position on such a strongly held and publicly stated belief.

As recently as 2012, Mike Michaud supported the ban on federal funding for abortion. In 2009 he voted on the House floor in favor of the Stupak-Pitts amendment.

That bill would have banned private insurance from covering abortions. Pro-choice supporters have called it the greatest potential restriction of a woman’s right to choose in the history of the current Congress.

In the past, Michaud’s campaign has benefited from thousands of dollars in spending by the National Right to Life Committee.

I would think that an organization like Planned Parenthood would not do anything but endorse the person who has, and who always has, supported women’s right to choose.

That person is Eliot Cutler, the only truly pro-choice candidate for governor.

I can only assume that Planned Parenthood has done what some other organizations have decided to do — make their decision based on some poll numbers months before most Mainers are even engaged in this race.

The latest poll, commissioned by the Portland Press Herald, found that a majority of likely voters have not yet made a decision about which candidate they will support in November.

In January we will have a new governor for the State of Maine.

It would not surprise me if a piece of legislation attacking choice made its way to his desk for a signature.

I don’t know or trust that Mike Michaud would veto such a bill. I know that Eliot Cutler would veto any and all legislation that would move toward destroying a woman’s right to choose.

Eliot Cutler has a proven record of support. Mike Michaud does not.

Wendy Pieh lives in Bremen.

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