Supporters of a measure to enshrine a right to abortion care in the Maine Constitution rallied at the State House Monday, saying stronger protections for reproductive rights are needed.

“The ability to determine our reproductive health is a fundamental human right and deserves the same level of protection as our other constitutionally protected rights,” said bill sponsor Sen. Eloise Vitelli (D-Arrowsic). “I remember a time when my access to birth control was limited and access to safe legal abortion was for most of us nonexistent.”

More than 100 people came to the State House in support of LD 780, which proposes to ask Maine voters in November if they favor an amendment to “declare that every person has a right to reproductive autonomy.”

The rally came on the 51st anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Roe v. Wade, which established a federal constitutional right to an abortion. The court overturned that decision in 2022, leaving it up to the states to decide whether to allow abortions.

Across the country, 21 states now ban or limit abortions in a way more restrictive than the standard set in the Roe v. Wade decision, according to the New York Times.

But in Maine, the Legislature expanded access to abortions last year when it passed a measure to allow women to have the procedure later in pregnancy with permission from a physician.

And although prominent Democrats back the state constitutional amendment — including Gov. Janet Mills, Senate President Troy Jackson of Allagash and House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross of Portland — it has little chance of getting the two-thirds support needed in the House and Senate.

That’s because even though Democrats hold majorities in both chambers, they do not have enough votes to reach the two-thirds threshold.

The measure is unlikely to win Republican support.

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Lisa Keim (R-Dixfield) called the bill unnecessary, saying that women have had access to abortions in Maine since the 1980s.

“This is a lot of fear mongering around this issue,” she said. “We’ve never come close to removing access to abortion.”

Keim also raised concerns about the term “reproductive autonomy” saying that it’s not well defined.

Christian Civic League of Maine policy director Mike McClellan said his group will continue to show up to oppose abortion-related measures.

“This battle is about a bill and it’s about win or lose and the people on my side are going to keep showing up because we’re fighting for eternity,” he said. “The Christian Civic League does not believe in abortion on any level. We value life.”

Yet those in support of the measure, including Rep. Sophie Warren (D-Scarborough), said they want to protect abortion access in the constitution because a future state Legislature could change state law.

“Here in Maine, we have been lucky that reproductive rights have largely remained protected,” she said. “However, the laws that are currently in place are not guaranteed beyond the next election.”

Dr. Julia McDonald, who works in Maine and in other countries, said she’s traveled to places where abortion access is restricted. She said she’s proud to live in a state that’s expanded care at a time when other states have restricted it.

“A constitutional amendment will ensure that future generations of Mainers continue to have the freedom to maintain personal reproductive autonomy,” she said.

On the other side of the issue, one opponent is Kristina Parker, 18, of the Turning Point USA chapter in Kennebec County.

“Abortion is wrong,” she said. “If we do not want to have abortion in the state then we need to say so and tell our legislators how we feel.”

Jackson said he understands those who are opposed to abortion but made the argument that lawmakers should let the public decide if they want to amend the state constitution.

“Even if you don’t want what we’re talking about here today, why wouldn’t you want it to go out to the people of Maine so they can make the choice?” he said.

But opponent Heather Sprague of Cushing described the amendment as a slippery slope and urged lawmakers to reject it.

“The constitution was written to protect all Maine citizens, even the not yet born who have every right to life just as much as any citizen of Maine,” she said. “What about their rights?”