Maine expanded abortion access up for debate, passage likely

May 1, 2023, 9:39 AM | Updated: 11:42 am

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — A proposal that would give Maine one of the least restrictive abortion laws in the country came up for debate Monday while passage seemed all but assured because of Democratic control of the state’s legislature.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has proposed changing the state’s standard to permit women to get abortions later in pregnancy. If the proposal passes, state law would change to allow abortion after fetal viability if it’s deemed necessary by a physician.

Maine’s current laws allow abortions until a fetus becomes viable, which is generally considered to be around 24 weeks. The proposal faced a well-attended public hearing before a committee of the Maine Legislature on Monday.

The governor’s proposal arrived as Republican-controlled states around the country are headed in the opposite direction on abortion access. Not all attempts at tightening abortion laws have succeeded, however, as abortion bans in Nebraska and South Carolina fell short of advancing last week.

Maine Democrats are unlikely to have such trouble expanding access. There were enough co-sponsors on Mills’ bill to ensure a majority.

“Mainers value their reproductive rights and freedoms, and they want these decisions to be made by a health care provider and their patient,” said Nicole Clegg, acting chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. “They don’t want certain politicians forcing people to continue a pregnancy against medical advice.”

Despite the likelihood of passage, many Republicans in the state have strongly opposed the bill, and opponents of abortion attended Monday’s hearing to make clear they don’t support it.

The Christian Civic League of Maine, an organization that staunchly opposes abortion, sent an email to its supporters asking them to “prayerfully consider joining us” at the hearing.

“What are you willing to do to be a voice for those who do not have a voice? To what level of sacrifice will you commit in advocacy for the sanctity of life? What inconvenience will you abide to be present to counter the spiritual forces in our capitol tomorrow?” the email asked supporters.

Other changes Democrats have proposed to Maine’s abortion laws include increasing the privacy for people seeking an abortion and eliminating insurance copays. The state already had a fairly unrestrictive set of laws regarding abortion, and Mills successfully ran for reelection in 2022 on a promise of protecting and expanding them.

Maine is one of many states that has become a testing ground for new abortion laws since the Supreme Court took away constitutional protections for abortion last June.

United States News

Associated Press

Downpours, high winds prompt weather warnings in Northeast

NEW YORK (AP) — Parts of the northeast were bracing for a stormy night Sunday, with high winds and heavy rains bringing threats of flooding and power outages through the Monday morning commute. Flood watches were in effect in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and southern New England through Monday. The National Weather Service said […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Woman arrested after driving her vehicle through a religious group on a sidewalk, Montana police say

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A woman has been arrested after she drove her vehicle several times at or through an unspecified religious group gathered on a sidewalk, hitting and injuring one man, Montana police said Sunday. Genevienne Rancuret, 55, was pulled over by police in Billings on Saturday a few hours after the episode and […]

1 hour ago

Associated Press

Students and lawmakers gather at Philadelphia temple to denounce antisemitism

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Students, lawmakers and religious leaders joined forces Sunday at a temple in Philadelphia to strongly denounce antisemitism on college campuses and in their communities. The gathering at Congregation Rodeph Shalom came one day after University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill resigned amid criticism over her testimony at a congressional hearing. Magill was […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Illinois man who confessed to 2004 sexual assault and murder of 3-year-old girl dies in prison

CHICAGO (AP) — A man who confessed to the 2004 sexual assault and murder of a 3-year-old Illinois girl has died in a state prison, according to state records. Scott Eby, 52, an inmate at the Menard Correctional Center, died Thursday, according to an online inmate notification system. The death of Riley Fox, whose body […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Catholic priest in small Nebraska community dies after being attacked in church

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — A Catholic priest in a small Nebraska community died Sunday after being attacked in a church rectory, authorities said. The Rev. Stephen Gutgsell was assaulted “during an invasion at the rectory” of St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Fort Calhoun, Nebraska, the Archdiocese of Omaha said in a Sunday statement. […]

6 hours ago

Associated Press

Police chase in Philadelphia ends in shootout that leaves 2 officers, suspect wounded

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A police pursuit of a suspected gunman ended in a shootout that left two officers and a suspect wounded, police said. The shooting happened around 2:30 a.m. Sunday, interim city Police Commissioner John Stanford said, after officers responded to reports of gunfire and saw a pickup truck that was occupied by a […]

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(KTAR News Graphic)...

KTAR launches online holiday auction benefitting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley

KTAR is teaming up with The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Valley for a holiday auction benefitting thousands of Valley kids.

Follow @KTAR923...

West Hunsaker at Morris Hall supports Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona

KTAR's Community Spotlight this month focuses on Morris Hall and its commitment to supporting the Make-A-Wish Foundation in Arizona.


Midwestern University

Midwestern University: innovating Arizona health care education

Midwestern University’s Glendale Campus near Loop 101 and 59th Avenue is an established leader in health care education and one of Arizona’s largest and most valuable health care resources.

Maine expanded abortion access up for debate, passage likely