Does former two-term Republican Gov. Paul LePage want to ban abortion, even in cases of rape and incest?

That suggestion is made in a 30-second attack ad being run by Better Maine, a political action group controlled by the Democratic Governors Association that has spent millions on ads against the former governor.

“ ‘Let’s do it’ – that’s what Paul LePage said about striking down Roe v. Wade, ending a woman’s right to an abortion,” a woman narrator says at the beginning of ad, which features ominous music and grainy footage of LePage smiling.

“We shouldn’t be surprised,” she continues, as images of concerned-looking women scroll across the screen. “As governor, LePage supported letting states completely ban abortion with no exemptions for rape and incest.”

LePage is seeking a third nonconsecutive term as governor, trying to unseat incumbent Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, who has been emphasizing the abortion issue to motivate her base. Political newcomer Sam Hunkler, a Beals physician, is mounting a longshot campaign as an independent.


The ad, and others like it, leaves the viewer with the impression that LePage wants to eliminate access to abortion, including in cases of rape, incest or health risks to the mother, here in Maine.

But that is something that LePage’s campaign and his daughter vehemently deny.

“(LePage) had 8 full years to change Maine’s abortion law and did not do so – and he NEVER said he would not support efforts to save the life of the mother, deal with rape, incest, etc,” LePage’s senior adviser Brent Littlefield said in an email this week. “As a survivor of domestic abuse he would NEVER take that position.”

Paul LePage denies that he supports an abortion ban that has no exceptions for rape, incest or the life of the woman. Image from ad by Better Maine

LePage’s daughter also defended him in a 30-second video released by the campaign.

“I’ve seen the ads and frankly they’re ridiculous,” Lauren LePage said in the video. “My dad, Gov. Paul LePage, would never endanger the health and safety of Maine women – Maine women just like me. He has never opposed abortion in the traumatic circumstances of rape, incest or the life of the mother.”

So what are the facts?


The first statement in the ad is true. In July of 2018, LePage did support overturning Roe v. Wade during an interview with WGAN Morning News.

“It’s the law of the land,” LePage said, during a discussion about Roe v. Wade and the U.S. Supreme Court. “If they can make a case for getting rid of it, let’s do it.”

LePage has described himself as “pro life” and attended anti-abortion rallies as governor. He has said “we should not have abortion” and that it should be restricted.

However, he has never publicly advocated for a complete ban without exceptions for rape, incest or the mother’s health.

The ad never goes so far as to claim that he has supported such a complete ban. But it implies he supports such a policy by pointing out that overturning Roe v. Wade gives states the ability to enact complete bans. And some states have done so.

The ad clearly plays into concerns among some voters about what restrictions LePage might pursue if he is elected and Republicans control the Legislature.


While governor, LePage had a Republican-controlled Legislature in 2011 and 2012. During that time, four anti-abortion bills were introduced, including adding crimes against unborn children and increasing the waiting time for a women to receive an abortion, but none of them passed.

That, of course, was back when Roe V. Wade was the law of the land and women had a constitutional right to an abortion. It would have been pointless for the Legislature to pass any significant restrictions under those circumstances.

The landscape post-Roe obviously creates a much different environment, making more restrictive laws possible.

Meanwhile, LePage has not said whether he would sign a bill to restrict access to abortion if the Legislature passes one. Instead, he has said he would never propose such a bill and he has downplayed the likelihood that the Legislature would send him one given that polls show a majority of voters in Maine support abortion access.

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