PORTLAND — Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood’s national political action committee, is set to headline a rally for 2nd District Congressman Mike Michaud’s campaign for governor later this month.

The Women for Mike rally is set 1:30 p.m. Aug. 27 on the steps of Portland City Hall, Michaud’s campaign announced Monday.

“Cecile is a tireless advocate for women throughout this country and state. We’re eager to have her in Maine campaigning for Mike and talking about why he’s the strongest candidate in the governor’s race and the only candidate who will bring Democrats, Republicans and independents together to do what’s best for Maine women and families,” Corey Hascall, a member of Women for Mike, said in a prepared statement.

Richards has been president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, the political arm of Planned Parenthood, since 2006, the campaign release stated.

Democrat Michaud, who was endorsed by the PAC earlier this year, is in a three-way race against Republican incumbent Gov. Paul LePage and independent Eliot Cutler.

Cutler and Michaud said last week they support a woman’s right to an abortion and support using public funds to pay for abortion for low-income women eligible for MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program. About 15 states allow Medicaid funds to help pay for abortion.

LePage has been unequivocal in his opposition to abortion and public funding for abortion services.

Richards, who is considered one of the most influential leaders on women’s reproductive rights, has gained national attention in light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling supporting Hobby Lobby’s decision that found corporations, with owners who object to abortion or contraception, are not required to pay for those services under employee health insurance plans, a provision required by the federal Affordable Care Act.

Richards has said the decision is an erosion of women’s rights and told television journalist Bill Moyers, “It’s better to be a corporation today than to be a woman in front of the Supreme Court.”

Michaud, who was first elected to U.S. Congress on a “pro-life” stance has since changed his view on the issue of abortion and in recent years has been considered a staunch ally for those seeking to protect abortion rights. Richards’ visit to Portland is likely meant to highlight that support.

Portland anti-abortion protesters also won a victory recently when the City Council rescinded an ordinance that allowed for a 39-foot, protest-free buffer zone outside of abortion clinics in the city. That followed a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that found similar zones in Massachusetts were unconstitutional.

“No one should ever face obstruction, intimidation or shame just for seeking out health care services,” Michaud said in July as he urged U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to ensure women could seek abortion services without harassment.

Michaud also voiced his displeasure with the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

“I remain concerned that the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down a buffer zone outside of a health care clinic sets a dangerous precedent — as we have already seen firsthand in Portland,” Michaud said at the time. “Without action, I am deeply worried that women again will face significant barriers to obtaining the health care they deserve.”


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