Despite claims of supporting Maine law, GOP legislators once again seek to restrict access to abortion
For Immediate Release: Jan. 31, 2023
Bill titles suggest Republican lawmakers remain out of touch with the will of Maine voters
(Portland, MAINE) – More than a handful of Maine Republican lawmakers this month have submitted bill titles aimed at restricting access to abortion and related reproductive healthcare including forced ultrasounds, biased counseling, taking away insurance coverage of abortion for low-income people and restricting access for rural Mainers.
While the draft bill language has yet to be released, the bill titles illustrate the GOP’s commitment to its anti-abortion platform. Titles introduced suggest Republicans want to force medical professionals to provide inaccurate information to their patients, restrict access to abortion through telehealth for rural Mainers, and erect barriers to care that will result in delayed care through repealing a current law prohibiting public insurance from denying coverage of abortion for low-income Mainers.
These anti-abortion bill titles aim to interfere in the personal, private medical decisions people make with their providers and to make it difficult for Mainers to exercise their reproductive rights. Some examples include:
LR 894, An Act to Require an Ultrasound and Certain Counseling Before an Abortion, sponsored by Rep. Abigail Griffin (would force unnecessary medical procedures and biased counseling)
LR 1799, An Act to Conform MaineCare to the Federal Hyde Amendment, sponsored by Rep. Kathy Javner (would force the denial of abortion coverage for low-income Mainers)
LR 2048, An Act to Protect a Woman's Right to Withdraw Consent for an Abortion, sponsored by Sen. Eric Brakey (likely connected to the false and dangerous myth of abortion reversal)
LR 2111, An Act to Prevent Coerced Abortion, sponsored by Rep. Amy Arata (aimed at perpetuating lies and myths about providers and their care for their patients)
LD 2270, An Act to Protect the Quality of Care Provided via Telehealth by Prohibiting Physicians from Prescribing Abortion-inducing Drugs Through Telehealth, sponsored by Rep. Reagan Paul (targets access to medication abortion for rural Mainers)
These bills are in stark contrast with the majority of Maine voters’ support of protecting and expanding access to abortion and related reproductive healthcare. Maine voters were clear in November that they want our reproductive rights and freedoms protected, they want people able to access care without judgement and they want clinicians’ safety protected.
Governor Janet Mills, who defeated anti-abortion rights Republican Paul LePage in November, introduced legislation earlier this month that would empower Maine medical providers and their patients to make medical decisions without fear of politically motivated retribution and that would remove language in Maine’s current law that criminalizes providers for acting in the interests of their patients. Democratic lawmakers are also championing legislation that will ensure every Mainer, regardless of what town they live in, has the same rights to abortion care and that would prohibit insurance providers from mandating that patients meet high deductibles and co-insurance payments in order to receive care.
Statement from Nicole Clegg, Chief Strategy and Impact Officer, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England/Maine Action Fund:
“Extreme lawmakers who are opposed to safe, legal abortion are at it again. These bills all have one thing in common: They insert politicians in the personal, private medical decisions people make about pregnancy. These bills are deeply unpopular and dangerous. From forcing medical professionals to mislead or coerce patients to taking away access in rural areas, these policies are part of an ill-conceived national agenda to erode our basic rights and freedoms, bill by bill, state by state.
Mainers saw an unprecedented number of proposals aimed at inserting politics in medical decisions from anti-abortion legislators in 2021. It’s unbelievable that now without the protections of Roe, we are seeing the same push by politicians again. Let’s be clear, the goal of these bills is to make it as difficult as possible for people to access abortion legally and safely.
In November, Maine voters elected reproductive rights champions to protect our rights and expand access to abortion and related care throughout the state. Mainers were clear that they don’t want politicians taking away their basic rights and freedoms. Republicans need to decide what side of history they want to be on.”
Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit membership organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in Maine. PPNNE has four health centers in Maine and sees more than 12,000 patients a year.