PORTLAND, Maine — The protesters outside Portland’s Planned Parenthood clinic weren’t screaming Friday morning, but not because of a court order.
It was the first of the regularly scheduled anti-abortion demonstrations since a federal judge ruled that police may again enforce Maine’s noise ordinance against protesters outside the women’s health center. And the activists kept their admonitions to a low shout despite the decision not yet being in effect.
On Tuesday, the 1st U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling, finding that police can enforce the noise section of the Maine Civil Rights Act against the protesters because, as written, the law is message neutral.
The ruling is the latest step in a legal drama that started in 2015 and could now be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, the issue at hand being whether or not the First Amendment gives protesters the right to scream epithets such as “Murderer!” and “Whore!” at patients entering the clinic, of course, in the name of Jesus.
The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit against Maine Governor Paul LePage over his practice of deleting comments and blocking people from his official Facebook page in order to censor dissent. The ACLU says, “Free speech must be protected from government censorship on Facebook just as is it in any other public forum.”
The Legislature is back in Augusta on Wednesday for what’s set to be the last official day of the 2017 session.
They’re mostly back to vote on overriding 27 vetoes from Gov. Paul LePage, including bills that would set long-term solar policy, increase Maine’s tobacco-buying age to 21 and prohibit handheld cellphone use while driving.
U.S. Rep. Bruce Poliquin won praise from the environmental community Tuesday when he announced his opposition to a bill that seeks to delay the implementation of stricter ozone standards.
The Ozone Standards Implementation Act of 2017, which passed 229-199 Tuesday evening with Poliquin and 10 other Republicans against it, is similar to a nearly identical measure that Poliquin and 9 other House Republicans opposed in 2016. The bill passed 234-177 in the House in 2016 but went on to fail in the Senate, where this year’s bill is now headed.
The 2017 act, which has been dubbed the Smoggy Skies Act by its opponents, would delay new ozone standards developed in 2008 and 2015 for the National Ambient Air Quality Standards and loosen review standards for a variety of air pollutants. It would also change criteria for pollution determinations from being based on protecting public health to consideration of “technological feasibility.”
Poliquin said it goes too hard against important air quality standards.
“I believe that Narcan will save lives. However, if you allow it to go 12, 13, 14, 15 times with the shots, the odds are against you,” the governor said Tuesday. “We have to say when we give you a shot: ‘You have to go to rehab or pay for it.’”
The governor’s comments at a Bangor forum on substance abuse came after he last year vetoed a bill, which has since become law, to allow pharmacists to dispense to medicine without a prescription. At that time, LePage said, “Naloxone does not truly save lives; it merely extends them until the next overdose.”
His press secretary said Wednesday that both of LePage’s statements are true.
“The governor has said the initial shot will save lives,” Adrienne Bennett said. “And he also believes that if someone is administered multiple shots it is a false security.”
This year LePage sponsored two drug-related bills that failed, one that would have forced towns to charge people revived more than once by an opiate overdose antidote and another that would essentially treat alcohol and drug use by pregnant women as child abuse.
Penobscot County Sheriff Troy Morton, who was on a panel of local law enforcement officers who spoke just before LePage arrived, said faith-based recovery programs at the county jail do seem to work.
“It’s better than any medication,” Morton said.
When a church member asked what his small congregation could do, the sheriff suggested a simple solution:
“Open the doors. The biggest problem is the stigma. We have to realize this is a social problem that affects us all.”
WHY DON’T WE JUST LEGALIZE FUCKING IBOGAINE? (because, the cost of addiction is someone’s profit. Yay Amerika!)