Maine Republican Said Abortion Rights Caused Mass Shooting that Killed 18

“Meditate on this, Madam Speaker: When LD 1619 passed and went into law on October 25, you told God, ‘Life doesn’t matter,'" Rep. Michael Lemelin (R) said on Wednesday. "God heard you, and the horrible events on October 25 happened.” Insane. 

Maine Republican Said Abortion Rights Caused Mass Shooting that Killed 18

In a jarring floor speech on Wednesday afternoon, two Maine Republicans pushed back on a bill (LD 227)—meant to protect people who travel to Maine for abortion care from prosecution—by claiming that the state’s abortion laws were the reason for the deadly mass shooting in Lewiston in 2023. Specifically, state Rep. Michael Lemelin (R) said the passage of LD 1619 in the fall, which expanded abortion rights in the state, led to the shooting that killed 18—and that passing LD 227 now could take Maine down the same path, AKA cause another mass shooting, which is a truly horrible thing to say…???

Lemelin said that last year, he’d warned that passing LD 1619 would have consequences. And on Wednesday he insisted there’s been five consequences, the first four being a bunch of storms “that wreaked havoc on Maine” through several days of torrential rain and high-speed wind, and the fifth being the shooting. “Meditate on this, Madam Speaker: When 1619 passed and went into law on October 25, you told God, ‘Life doesn’t matter. Keep in mind that the law came into effect on October 25. God heard you, and the horrible events on October 25 happened.”

Let’s pause here: I’m actually going to go out on a limb and say that mass shootings are caused by guns and lack of adequate gun safety laws as opposed to people having a right to basic health care!

State Rep. Shelley Rudnicki (R) then gave a speech concurring with and thanking Lemelin. “I just wanted to stand and say that I agree with Representative Lemelin and everything he said. Thank you.” Bold of her, because—rightly so—Lemelin was quickly condemned by lawmakers across the aisle, who may disagree on a lot but could at least agree that opposing abortion isn’t grounds for justifying or warning of a freaking mass shooting.

On Thursday, Lemelin and Rudnicki were censured by the legislature, which requires a two-thirds vote. “Your remarks were extremely offensive and intentionally harmful to the victims and the families of the Lewiston tragedy, the House of Representatives, and the people of Maine,” House Speaker Talbot Ross (D) said in a letter to Lemelin ahead of the censure. “The behavior and your language violated the order of decorum of the House chamber. Your actions are deserving of the most serious consequences this body can deliver.”

Shortly after the censure, both Lemelin and Rudnicki apologized, but I’ll say it: You don’t really come back from this! It’s not as if Republican lawmakers, especially state and local lawmakers, don’t have a persistent track record of being certifiably deranged when talking about abortion. Elected Republicans have equated abortion with the Holocaust and slavery, suggested women’s bodies “control intake of sperm” so they can’t be impregnated from rape and won’t need an abortion, and have called pregnancy from rape “an opportunity.” So, I guess we were going to get to “abortion rights cause mass shootings” eventually. I’m also just not over how ancient and biblical Lemelin’s horrific speech was, quite literally blaming abortion for floods and a massacre.

One Maine Republican, state Rep. Rachel Henderson, spoke out against Lemelin and Rudnicki on the House floor on Wednesday: “Although it’s not my place, I apologize to every member who was here and heard that and took offense. I’m proud of where I stand. I’m proud of the positions that I take, but tonight I am not proud to be a Republican. I am not proud to have an ‘R’ in front of my name.” Of course, if insane comments about abortion are truly offensive to Henderson, maybe it’s time to ask whether she still wants that “R” in front of her name altogether! She continued, “Nowhere in the Bible do I see where the word of God is to be used as a weapon against people, or where we are told to speak on behalf of God to express his wrath to the people.” The Bible doesn’t say anything about banning abortion either, mind you.

State Assistant House Majority Leader Kristen Cloutier (D) issued a statement of her own condemning the comments from Lemelin and Rudnicki on Wednesday, calling their words “reprehensible.” “We are dismayed by this stunning lack of respect, deeply troubling absence of empathy and infuriating disregard for the victims, their families and everyone in our community whose hearts remain shattered by this horrific act of senseless violence,” she wrote.

I’m glad Lemelin and Rudnicki were appropriately censured. Now I hope Maine passes LD 227 to expand abortion rights, and hopefully some gun safety laws too.

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