Recalling experiences with sexual and reproductive health care prior to 1973’s Roe v. Wade ruling, Governor Mills, Speaker Gideon, Assistant Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli, and Rep. Jay McCreight spoke at a press conference this morning marking the 46th anniversary of the Roe v Wade decision. The leaders pledged to protect Mainers’ access to sexual and reproductive health care, including abortion, and to continue working to increase access to quality, affordable care for all Mainers.
Legislators will consider a number of bills pertaining to sexual and reproductive health care this year including one sponsored by Representative Jay McCreight to ensure coverage of abortion is included in public and private health insurance plans that cover prenatal care.
Statements from those speaking at this morning’s press conference:
Governor Janet Mills
I will fight to ensure that every person in this state has access to affordable, high-quality health care and reproductive services and that they can obtain them free from harassment and intimidation no matter where they live in Maine. That is what Maine people deserve – nothing less. It is a new day for women and reproductive health care in Maine.
Speaker Sara Gideon
Today, we remember and reaffirm the guiding principle behind the landmark Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision - that every woman should be able to make her own choices about her body and her health. And even though this ruling was 46 years ago, we cannot afford to be complacent. Because as we heard from Governor Mills, the fight continues.
Assistant Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli
Mainers have been pretty clear at the polls and in the halls of the State House. They want better quality health care for children, working parents, and ultimately women. At the most basic level, that’s why we have new leadership in the Senate.
Representative Jay McCreight, sponsor of LR 824 An Act to Prevent Discrimination in Public and Private Insurance Coverage for Pregnant Women in Maine
We are facing unrelenting efforts to take away our ability to access safe, effective contraception and to take away our ability to decide whether to continue a pregnancy….Women of means are able to access insurance coverage for the full range of reproductive health care, including pregnancy care, while women who are Medicaid-eligible do not have the same access. Equal coverage for reproductive and pregnancy health care is not only the right thing to do, it just makes sense.
Sexual and reproductive health bills lawmakers will consider include:
- LR 824 An Act to Prevent Discrimination in Public and Private Insurance Coverage for Pregnant Women in Maine
- Sponsored by Rep. Jay McCreight, this bill would require coverage of abortion in public and private insurance plans covering prenatal care.
- LR 427 An Act to Facilitate Access to the MaineCare Family Planning Benefit
- Sponsored by Rep. Jay McCreight, this bill would streamline the application process for the Limited Family Planning Benefit Program, which ensures people with low incomes have access to sexual and reproductive health care.
- LR 1515 An Act to update the Family Planning Statutes
- Sponsored by Sen. Linda Sanborn, this bill would update Maine’s outdated family planning statutes to more accurately reflect the services provided.
- LD 37 An Act to Allow for the Sale of Nonprescription Drugs through Vending Machines
- Sponsored by Rep. Maureen Terry, this bill would allow over the counter medications, including Emergency Contraception, to be sold in vending machines. This bill has been referred to the Legislature’s new IDEA Committee.
There are also two bill titles intended to restrict access to abortion:
LR 1366 An Act To Prohibit Abortion after the Detection of a Fetal Heartbeat sponsored by Sen. Guerin
LR 1708 An Act To Restrict the Termination of a Pregnancy after a Fetal Heartbeat Is Detected sponsored by Rep. Hanington