Republican lawmaker censured for saying mass shootings are god’s punishment for abortion rights

By Charlie Sawyer

Published Apr 15, 2024 at 12:21 PM

Reading time: 2 minutes

A Republican representative from Maine has made headlines after stating that the deadly mass shooting that took place in Lewiston in October 2023 was a direct sign of retribution from God over the Democratic-led state legislature’s decision to expand abortion rights. Yup, not joking.

According to NBC News, Representative Michael Lemelin, who was elected to the House of Representatives in 2020, shocked both the debate floor and news publishers everywhere when he indicated that passing bill LD 1619 in 2023—a law which expanded abortion rights in the state—had resulted in horrific consequences, one of which being a deadly shooting that killed 18 people.

Specifically, the politician stated: “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.”

The Lewiston shooting was one of the worst in the US last year, and the worst in Maine’s history. The attack, which took place at a bowling alley and bar, killed 18 people and left 13 more injured. Following this, President Joe Biden emphasised the need for Congress to take action to ban assault-style rifles: “Regardless of our politics, this is about protecting our freedom to go to a bowling alley, a restaurant, a school, a church without being shot and killed.”

Lemelin’s argument regarding LD 1619 was in response to the legislature debating passing a new bill, LD 227. This would be a shield law that would help to protect people who travel to Maine for abortion care from prosecution. Supposedly, the Republican believed that it was not only acceptable but important for him to make such a bold and insensitive statement, even going as far as to call the law “immoral” and “inspired by Lucifer himself.”

Moreover, shortly after Lemelin’s speech, Representative Shelley Rudnicki endorsed the offensive remarks: “I just want to stand and say that I agree with Rep. Lemelin and everything he said.”

A number of other representatives shared their outrage at Lemelin’s comments. In fact, Democrat and Assistant House Majority Leader Kristen Cloutier wrote in a statement on X that the remarks were “reprehensible” and that the two Republican politicians had shown a “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.”

Both Lemelin and Rudnicki were censured from the house floor over these comments, meaning that the other representatives had voted to condemn their behaviour. Following this, both Republicans delivered identical brief apologies in order to resume their ability to speak and vote.

Over the past few years, individuals across the US have been forced to travel from state to state in order to seek reproductive care. Moreover, much of the regression of abortion rights has directly coincided with the political rise of Christian Nationalism.

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