Calling abortion an issue that affects "few Mainers," former Gov. Paul LePage said Tuesday he doesn't expect the issue to take up a lot of his time if he's elected to lead the state again.
Reporters asked LePage, a Republican, about the issue as he accepted an endorsement from a construction advocacy group as he challenges Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, in November's election.
"I don't have time for abortion. It's that simple," LePage said, according to Jackie Mundry, of NBC affiliate NewsCenter Maine. "I don't think that in the next four years, that that's going to capture a lot of my time. There's just so much that needs to be done that, to me, is critical to all Mainers. Abortion affects few Mainers."
He cited the economy, energy and fuel, policing, children and health care as the issues that would take up his time in his four years as governor.
Last week's Supreme Court decision to overturn the protections of Roe v. Wade and other precedents leaves the legality of abortion in the hands of state lawmakers. Abortion remains legal in Maine, under current law.
In a statement Friday, Mills called overturning Roe v. Wade "a fundamental assault on women’s rights and on reproductive freedom that will do nothing to stop abortion." She vowed to veto any laws passed by the legislature that would "undermine, rollback, or outright eliminate the right to safe and legal abortion in Maine."
“This once again shows how little Paul LePage cares about Maine women, our rights, our health, our lives, or what we have to go through," Alexandra Raposo, a Mills campaign spokesperson, said of LePage's comments.
Asked Tuesday if he would move to change the law on abortion in Maine, LePage said he would wait to comment on any bills, but called himself "for life" and against late-term abortions, according to Mundry.
Both Mills and LePage coasted through their primaries, and the election matchup will revive their frequent clashes as attorney general and governor, respectively.