Democratic Maine Senate candidate Sara Gideon took hundreds of thousands of dollars from abortion interest groups after she passed legislation to force taxpayers to pay for abortion and drastically expanded abortion access during her tenure as the speaker of the Maine House of Representatives.
Gideon championed pro-abortion legislation even in the face of bipartisan opposition throughout her career as speaker. In 2019, she cosponsored legislation that required the taxpayer-funded state Medicaid program to pay for abortion, passing the bill through the House even as seven Democrats voted against it. She also pushed through legislation that allowed nurses to perform abortions and authorized the sale of contraceptives from vending machines in the same year. Multiple Democrats voted against both bills.
The rapid-fire passage of pro-abortion legislation in 2019 cemented Gideon's place as Maine's leading pro-abortion legislator, a reputation that translated into endorsements and financial support from national pro-abortion groups. Both NARAL Pro-Choice America and EMILY's List endorsed Gideon a day after she formally entered the race, funneling nearly $200,000 in donations to Gideon's campaign. Planned Parenthood, meanwhile, has spent roughly $100,000 since July in outside spending to support Gideon's candidacy.
Gideon, who did not respond to a request for comment, is neck-and-neck in the fight for the Senate seat held by Sen. Susan Collins, one of the few congressional Republicans who support Roe v. Wade.
Karen Vachon, executive director of the Maine National Right to Life Committee, said campaign donations have led Gideon to embrace radical abortion policies. She linked increasing abortions in the state directly to the policies that Gideon championed.
"Maine CDC’s recently released abortion data for 2019 shows a 3 percent rise in abortions since 2018," Vachon said. "This is disturbing and is a direct result of progressive abortion policy passed under Sara Gideon’s leadership."
Neither Planned Parenthood nor NARAL returned requests for comment.
Gideon's support for taxpayer-funded abortion is opposed by majority of American voters. The candidate has made abortion a central issue of her campaign even with Collins's long record as a pro-choice Republican. She has used judicial confirmations, particularly that of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, to attack Collins.
"[Kavanaugh] did the exact opposite of what Susan Collins professed over and over again that she was sure that he would do—and that is respecting the precedent of Roe v. Wade," Gideon said in a video conversation with the president of NARAL Pro-Choice America.
While multiple pro-abortion groups support Gideon, Planned Parenthood in particular has a direct financial incentive to do so. The Democrat has promised to restore roughly $60 million in Title X funding for the abortion group, effectively reversing the Trump administration's decision to withhold federal funds from groups that provide abortions. Gideon has already introduced a bill in the state legislature that would force Maine taxpayers to replace lost Title X funding for Planned Parenthood.
Vachon blasted Gideon as a pawn of the well-funded national groups advancing the pro-abortion agenda.
"She is a puppet of big money," Vachon said. "All this big money that is being spent by Planned Parenthood is not reflective of the people—it is to advance the progressive agenda."