Maine poised to expand abortion access with one of the least restrictive laws in the country
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.”