The Center Square | by Brent Addleman | January 18, 2023
(The Center Square) – Ensuring the decision on an abortion later in pregnancy is made by a qualified medical professional and their patient is the focus of a new bill filed by the governor.
Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, along with Senate President Troy D. Jackson, D-Allagash, and House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross, D-Portland, unveiled legislation Tuesday that works to strengthen the state’s health care laws. The bill would ensure no Maine resident is unable to receive the reproductive care they need when they need it.
The bill, according to the release, is derived from the experience Yarmouth resident Dana Pierce experienced in having to travel to Colorado with her husband to obtain an abortion. She learned “later in her pregnancy,” the release said, her child had a rare form of skeletal dysplasia.
The condition can be fatal for the child, and include broken bones while in the womb.
“The decision to have an abortion is deeply personal and, as in Dana’s case, can be heartbreaking,” Mills said in a release. “Fundamentally, these are decisions that should be made by a woman and her medical provider. No Maine person should have to leave our state, the comfort of their family or friends, and have to potentially spend thousands of dollars just to access the care they need. This bill removes barriers to care and makes clear that, in Maine, the decision to have an abortion is for a woman and her medical provider to make.”
If enacted, the bill would eliminate language under the state’s current laws where medical providers performing abortions would be subject to criminal procedures under certain circumstances and would regulate abortion the same as any other safe medical procedure.
“The right to decide if and when to start a family is fundamental to who we are as Americans,” Jackson said in a release. “It’s a deeply personal decision that does not belong to the government or a politically motivated Supreme Court – it belongs to Mainers.”
According to the release, the legislation was announced ahead of Sunday’s 50th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which was overturned last June.
“Abortion care is medical care, yet across the country fundamental rights and freedoms are being taken away or restricted at an alarming rate,” Talbot Ross said in the release. “But the opposite is happening here in Maine. We are serving as a light that inspires others around the country by protecting those who need it and showing exactly how to fight back. And this work is far from over. We will continue to do everything we can to ensure that reproductive health care and family planning is affordable and accessible in every part of the state.”