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One of the most important and time-consuming tasks Pews to the Polls funds are used for is the development of our biennial voter guide, which is now live! To order your free voter guide, go to mainevoterguides.com. If a candidate for State House, State Senate, Congress, or Governor has made a statement on an issue that we care about, it will be listed there.
Having a voter guide like this is a critical resource to keep Maine value voters informed . Just consider the recent debate between gubernatorial candidates Janet Mills and Paul LePage:
The Portland Press Herald reported that, in the debate, Governor Janet Mills was clear: she would keep the law as is. Of course, this is very concerning. The current law in Maine funds abortions using taxpayer dollars and allows the unborn child to be killed until very late in the pregnancy.
Former governor Paul LePage’s response was also concerning to pro-lifers when he said, “I am in the exact same place as you, [Governor Mills] I would honor the law as it is.” When asked if he would veto a law that prohibits abortions after 15 weeks, he was even more clear: “Yes.”
What are we to make of this? On paper, we have two candidates running for governor who both seemed to pro-abortion. Does this mean we should refuse to consider abortion at all?
No, certainly not. A candidate’s position is more than what they say on the debate stage. Politicians are notoriously inconsistent especially on this issue.
Instead, we should keep in mind two things about this gubernatorial race.
First, we must remember their histories. Both may have sounded the same on the debate stage, but both of them have notably different records.
Not only has Paul LePage given us written acknowledgement that he opposes taxpayer funding of abortion, but he has a history of pro-life statements that have been consistent with him and his administration while in office.. As the Washington Post was very quick to point out, when asked before about whether he would restrict abortion if Roe v. Wade was overturned, he had said “Let’s do it.”
While Gov. Mills says that she has supported current law, we have to remember that she herself has expanded access to abortion. In her first term, she signed a bill that required private insurers to cover abortions on demand, and her support of abortion is long-standing and well-attested-to. This is a huge change in the law. Given her history, we should be very skeptical if she or anyone else suggests that she would veto a bill that radically expands abortion.
Both politicians struck a stance on the debate stage that they thought would appeal to the independent voters. But even a quick glance at their records indicates that they diverge more than they represented themselves during the debate.
Second, we have to remember their political contexts. Janet Mills is a part of a party that publicly supports expanding access to abortion. Paul LePage is part of a party that publicly supports restricting access.
It is a basic fact of political life that a politician has more to lose by opposing one’s friends than opposing one’s enemies. Because her party supports abortion, Mills is extremely unlikely (outside of an act of God) to try to restrict abortion in the way we want. LePage, because his party opposes abortion, is extremely unlikely to expand abortion beyond the existing law.
These two factors—each candidates’ histories and their political context—need to be in the mind of the Christian voter as we prayerfully consider who to vote for. A perfect candidate would boldly proclaim the truth in the public square. We don’t have one who does. But we do have the ability to take a wider lens on how each politician will be affected by their interests and context. Then we can decide on that basis.
Looking at these factors, as well as the full context of both these politicians’ careers and public service, we have decided to endorse Paul LePage as the clear choice for voters who are committed to the sanctity of life here in Maine. Don’t allow the imperfections of candidates and other allies of the unborn distract us or discourage us from mission of advocating for the intrinsic value of every human being that bears the image of our Creator.