To the Editor:

We appreciated the opportunity to offer Maine Family Planning’s perspective for Francis Flisiuk’s August 23 article, "This is Her Margaret Chase Smith Moment’ — As Susan Collins meets with Kavanaugh, a grassroots campaign launches benefiting her opponent.” However, Flisiuk’s article contains an inaccuracy that is attributed to me. We would like to correct the record to ensure that Mainers have accurate information about access to abortion care in our state.

Flisiuk writes, “According to Vaughan, people who live in rural Maine do not have sufficient access to abortion services, with just nine abortion-providing facilities in Maine in 2014, representing a 18 percent decline since 2011 in overall providers.” The facts, which I conveyed via email to Flisiuk, are that folks can obtain medication abortion [for] up to 10 weeks via telemedicine at all 18 Maine Family Planning clinics statewide, as well as at Planned Parenthood and Mabel Wadsworth Feminist Health Center. Someone needing an abortion past 10 weeks has three options (in Bangor, Augusta, and Portland).

There’s little doubt that barriers to abortion access abound, in Maine and nationwide. Maine Family Planning is fighting in court to overturn two of those barriers: the ban on MaineCare coverage for abortion care, and the state’s medically unjustified “physician-only” law. Confirming Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the US Supreme Court would practically ensure additional hurdles, especially for poor and rural patients and people of color.

But Mainers need to know that we are actually better off than some states, thanks to Maine’s Reproductive Privacy Act — which protects access to abortion care up to 12 weeks — and the work of innovative health care providers. To keep it that way, we must elect champions for reproductive health care and rights to the state legislature and the governor’s seat.

Sincerely,

Cait Vaughan

Community Organizer, Maine Family Planning

Dear Cait,

Thanks for this clarification and the additional information.

The original information included in the article — that nine abortion-providing facilities in Maine in 2014 represent a 18-percent decline since 2011 in overall providers — was provided by the Guttmacher Institute, but you're correct to point out that recent advances in telemedicine give a clearer view of availability of abortion services in the state.

Best,

Nick Schroeder

Editor

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