Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund PAC, the leading voice in Maine this election season on behalf of women’s health, today endorsed Mike Michaud for Maine governor. The PAC also issued a call to action to its more than 10,000 supporters statewide to get involved in this high-stakes race.

Michaud, the Democrat from Millinocket who has served since 2002 as U.S. Congressman for Maine’s 2nd District, will be a champion for women’s health and reproductive rights, leaders of the PAC said at a press conference in Portland.

“In this race for governor, the stakes for Maine women could not be higher, and the contrast between Mike Michaud and Gov. LePage is clear,” said Nicole Clegg, Chair of the Maine Action Fund PAC. “Mike is a trusted supporter of our issues. He is a strong, thoughtful and experienced leader, and we’re proud to endorse him as the candidate we can count on to move Maine forward.”

“We simply cannot afford another four years of LePage in the Blaine House. We cannot afford to roll back the clock on women’s access to health care.” Clegg said.

The Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund PAC is the political watchdog group for Planned Parenthood of Northern New England health centers in Maine, which provide high quality health care for thousands of Mainers each year. More than 95 percent of those services are cancer screenings, prevention and treatments of STDs, breast health services, pap tests, birth control, sexual health education, information, and health counseling. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England provides abortion services in Maine, and the PAC supports candidates who will fight to keep abortion safe and legal.

“Over the past 10 years, Mike Michaud has demonstrated the ability to grow and develop a deeper understanding and respect for women’s health issues. That takes real courage that is noticeably lacking in politics these days,” Clegg said. “Mike has come to share our values, and is now among our most trusted allies, casting vote after vote in support of women’s health and reproductive rights.”

In contrast, Gov. Paul LePage is an outspoken opponent of reproductive rights, and has gone so far as to suggest that outlawing abortion could be a solution to replacing Maine’s aging population. This position is extreme, dangerous and out of touch with the majority of Maine voters who believe politicians have no place in a woman’s medical decisions.

“Governor LePage has turned his back on thousands of uninsured Mainers and cut critical funding for family planning services, family planning services that I fought for when I was in the State Senate. As governor, I will not tolerate such attacks,” Congressman Michaud said. “I will unequivocally support and protect a woman’s right to make her own personal private medical decisions. Women don’t turn to politicians for advice about birth control, mammograms, cancer screenings or treatments. So politicians should not be involved in a woman’s personal medical decisions about her pregnancy.”

The Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund PAC will lead the charge to educate voters in Maine about what’s at stake in the gubernatorial election. Volunteers will begin field work immediately and will continue through the Nov. 4 election. This unprecedented electoral effort by Planned Parenthood in Maine reflects the growing political engagement of the organization nationwide since 2010.

•    Women’s health played the defining role in Terry McAuliffe’s gubernatorial victory last year in Virginia. He won women’s votes by a nine-point margin — matching Obama’s 2012 advantage with Virginia women.

•    Recent polling released by PPMEAF PAC and polling from the 2012 election shows that access to safe and legal abortion, affordable birth control, and basic health care access are motivating voting issues for women, who view them as core economic issues for their families. An overwhelming majority of women voters trust Planned Parenthood’s political and advocacy organizations when they speak out about issues affecting the health of women.

•    A 2012 post-election report from the Sunlight Foundation on big winners and losers found that the Action Fund had a 98 percent return on investment — having supported 12 winning candidates and opposed 12 losing candidates.

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