(UPDATED, 1/22/17) MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” Show aired the following as a quick review of the weekend’s events in Washington DC and nationally:
On Friday, as Donald J. Trump was sworn into office as the country’s 45th President, Mainers gathered in the State House’s Hall of Flags to read the U.S. Constitution. Here is full video of the event, hosted by ACLU of Maine:
Saturday saw the largest number of protesters ever gathered outside the State House complex as part of the over 600 international location rally/ #WomensMarch event, protesting President Trump. Numbers for participation are still being totaled, but event organizers are claiming over 10,000 participants at the Augusta site.
A quick video from within the crowd. State Senator Shenna Bellows (D-Kennebec) can be heard speaking in the background.
Here are photos that better illustrate the strength of numbers (link to more photos here).
Via Maine Attorney General Janet T. Mills’ offices in the Cross Building:
A Facebook photo shared by Maine Senate Democratic press secretary Mario Moretto from the State House shows Senator Bellows looking down at the crowds:
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Maine Womens’ Lobby email:
L.D. 924 – “An Act to Educate Women on the Medical Risks Associated with Abortion.”
This bill would require doctors to read a biased and coercive script to a patient … 24 hours before she could obtain an abortion.
Women making decisions about their health have a right to non-biased information and conversation – not manipulation.
And that’s just one of 4 bills – 4 very bad bills – aimed at putting politicians between you and your right to make your own decisions about when and whether to bear children.
C’mon. Trust women. Trust us to make decisions that are right for our lives.
We need your help right now to counter this attack on reproductive privacy.
Misleading women, especially those struggling with difficult decisions, is unconscionable. This bill isn’t about educating women. It’s about shaming women out of choosing an abortion.
It’s about providing incomplete and medically inaccurate information.
It’s not medicine – it’s politics. And politics shouldn’t come between you and your physician.
Give right here, right now.
And, that’s not all.
L.D. 1457 would repeal Maine’s successful adult involvement law and require signed, notarized consent from a minor’s parent before she can obtain an abortion.
L.D. 116 would require two in-person visits to an abortion provider; one to provide informed consent, and a second 24 hours later to have the procedure. These proposed waiting periods increase the medical, emotional, and financial cost of abortion.
And, L.D. 1463 proposes to create a new class of crime for harm to a fetus.
We trust Maine women to make their own health choices in consultation with their medical providers. And, Maine has a longstanding, bipartisan tradition of common sense laws protecting women’s health and safety.
The public hearings on LDs 116, 924 and 1457 will be held in Room 438 starting at 1pm TODAY. Those attending are urged to please wear PINK to show support.
Photos of the press conference here.
Video of Dr. Leitzer speaking at a press conference held at the Statehouse this morning.
Links here to video of Dr. Betsy Weiss of Bangor and retired OB/GYN Dr. Robert Walker of Blue Hill, presenting their statements opposing the three bills.
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Testimony of Dr. Joan Leitzer, MD, Portland
LD 116, “An Act To Require a 24-hour Waiting Period prior to an Abortion”
LD 924, “An Act To Educate Women on the Medical Risks With Abortion”
LD 1457, “An Act To Strengthen the Consent Laws for Abortions Performed on Minors and Incapacitated Persons”
Submitted to Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary
May 3, 2011
I am Dr. Joan Leitzer, a psychiatrist in Portland, and have practiced psychiatry for over twenty-five years. I am also the mother of two grown children. I am here to urge you to oppose all three anti-abortion bills. The proposal that I find the most objectionable, as a physician, is the proposal (LD 924) that would require that doctors read a government-approved script to any patient seeking an abortion.
As a physician, I have an obligation to provide scientifically and medically accurate information to my patients. I also have an ethical obligation to ensure informed consent by all of my patients prior to any treatment. The three tenets of informed consent for treatment are that:
- The patient must have the capacity to give consent.
- Consent must be truly voluntary.
- A patient must be provided with adequate information to make decisions.LD 924 is counter to the concept of informed consent which requires that doctors ensure that patients are capable of making a decision, are making that decision on a voluntary basis free of coercion, and have accurate information to make that decision in an informed way.Indeed, LD 924 contradicts this principle of informed consent by introducing elements of bias and coercion into the process. Counceling is not reading a government-approves script to a patient. Counceling is definitely not reading inflammatory anti-abortion language to a patient in an attempt to coerce her or shame her into not having an abortion.I understand that the Maine Right to Life Committee states that this bill was, and I quote: “modeled after legislation which has been successfully brought forward in other states: Missouri, Texas, South Dakota and Georgia”.
However, the scripts developed by goverment officials in those states contain false, misleading and out-of-date information.
The brochures for Texas falsely assert that abortion causes breast cancer, despite the fact that the National Cancer Institute has definitively stated that there is no such link. Even more concerning to a mental health professional like me, both Texas and South Dakota falsely assert that abortion causes negative,and only negative, emotional responses.
That’s just not true. Some patients may feels sadness, guilt or regret, but other patients may experience a decrease of anxiety and/or relief.
The findings of Munk-Olsen et al from the Jan 27, 2011 New England Journal of Medicine demonstrate no support of the “hypothesis that there is an increased risk of mental disorders after a first trimester abortion”. This is a high quality observational study (cohort design) and offers strong evidence suggesting that first trimester abortion is NOT associated with psychiatric disorder. In other words, there is no statistical correlation between abortion and depression. But the states that have a script assert this and other falsehoods.
The Texas and South Dakota brochures claim that a woman may experience suicidal thoughts or so-called “postabortion traumatic stress syndrome”. This is a fictional diagnosis that is not recognized by either the American Psychological Association or the American Pediatric Association.
The South Dakota materials state that an “unborn child may feel physical pain”. The Texas materials assert that pain perception can occur as early as 12 weeks’ gestation, although “some experts have concluded that the unborn child is probably able to feel physical pain” at 20 weeks. The truth, according to a 2005 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, is that the sensory systems necessary to feel pain develop between the 23rd and 30th week of gestation.
The misinformation, contained in brochures from the states after which Maine Right to Life has modeled this proposal, see,s designed to convince women that abortion is wrong. Promoting an anti-abortion viewpoint through a government-issued brochure contradicts doctors’ ethical obligations to our patients.
Even if we disagree, we should never impose our personal religious or political views on a patient. But that’s exactly what this bill will do. I urge you to reject biased government-mandated scripting of what takes place in the doctor’s office. I have dedicated my life to counseling women and men through some of the most difficult circumstances of their lives. As a professional, I uphold my ethical obligation to ensure that all of my patients provide informed consent to any course of treatment.
There is no need to single out abortion and treat it any differently that any other legal, medical procedure. I urge you- regardless of what you think about abortion- not to impose a particular set of religious or moral views on women seeking abortion. Please reject LD 924, as well as LD 116 and LD 1457.
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