LEWISTON — The candidates for governor are staking their positions on the hot-button abortion issue this week.

On Tuesday, Eliot Cutler, an independent from Cape Elizabeth, released his answers to a questionnaire from the Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund, a political action committee, noting again that he is the only candidate in the race to consistently support abortion rights.

Incumbent Republican Gov. Paul LePage is viewed largely as a pro-life candidate and has received a zero percent ranking from NARAL Pro-Choice America while receiving an 86 percent rating from the Maine Right to Life Committee, according to Project Vote Smart, a nonprofit organization that rates politicians and candidates on a range of issues.

LePage, the oldest of 18 children, has repeatedly noted that his mother could have made different choices, according to LePage’s campaign spokesman Brent Littlefield.

“He has repeatedly said that in his broken household, his mother could have made a different decision, and he is glad she chose life,” Littlefield wrote in an email message to the Sun Journal. 

LePage’s Democratic challenger, 2nd Congressional District U.S. Rep. Mike Michaud, has a mixed voting record on abortion.

“Congressman Michaud has made his stance on choice clear,” Michaud’s campaign spokeswoman Lizzy Reinholt said Tuesday. “He unequivocally supports a woman’s reproductive rights.” 

Reinholt said Michaud over the past four years has a consistent pro-choice voting record and is the only candidate in the race to have the endorsement of the National Abortion Rights Action League, and a 100 percent ranking from the national, pro-choice group.

Cutler’s release Tuesday was the second in two weeks focusing on family issues and women. He staked out his turf on the equal pay issue last week in a statement responding to Michaud’s announcement that he would support a minimum wage increase both nationally and in Maine.

“It’s important that the people of Maine know where candidates stand on issues important to them,” Cutler said.

He said he was posting his response to questionnaires his campaign has received because Michaud and LePage had refused to participate in public debate with him on the issues that interest voters. Cutler challenged Michaud and LePage to post their answers to questions from interest organizations.

“Voters and the Maine media should insist that candidates reveal how they have responded — what promises and commitments they have made — to these special-interest groups,” Cutler said.

He has posted his responses to questions from The Sierra Club, the Maine State Employees Association-Service Employees International Union and the AFL-CIO.

Nicole Clegg, chairwoman of the Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund PAC, said Tuesday the PAC was still evaluating candidate responses and had not yet endorsed a candidate in the 2014 Maine gubernatorial race.

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