Maine Lawmakers Push for Abortion up to Moment of Birth, Republicans Blast 'Depraved' Move
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Maine Democratic Gov. Janet Mills is calling for state legislators to pass an abortion bill that would remove almost all current restrictions on abortion in The Pine Tree State, right up to the moment of birth.
Even though the debate over measure LD 1619 will generate emotional debate in the coming weeks, its eventual passage is virtually assured since there were enough co-sponsors on her bill, formally introduced last week, to ensure passage with a majority.
All told, there were 76 sponsors and co-sponsors in the House and 20 in the Senate – all Democrats or independents.
The Maine Wire reports that, if passed, the proposal would allow full-term abortions – abortions right up to the moment before a baby is born – so long as a physician, physician assistant, or an advanced registered nurse approves.
The legislative push is a direct flip-flop from the governor's position during the recent gubernatorial campaign. During the campaign, Mills said multiple times she wanted no changes to Maine's abortion laws, the outlet reported.
Maine's current state law allows abortions until a fetus becomes viable outside the womb, at roughly 24 weeks, but there's an exception allowing late abortions to preserve the life or health of the mother. The governor's bill, if passed, would change the exception to allow abortions after viability if a physician deems its necessary.
It also would change reporting requirements and strengthen legal protections for medical providers.
As expected, abortion providers are celebrating the removal of abortion restrictions – acting CEO of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England Nicole Clegg trying to spin it as "abortion care."
State Republicans are arguing that the current law is sufficient and pointing out that the governor violated a campaign vow to leave the state's abortion law alone.
Republican state Rep. Reagan Paul (Winterport), called the bill "depraved."
"This gives the word 'extreme' new meaning. It would allow the abortion of a baby up to full term, one that could survive outside the womb. That is extreme," state Sen. Lisa Keim (R-Oxford) told reporters.
In pressing for the bill, the governor cited the example of a Maine woman who had to travel out of state to end her pregnancy after an ultrasound showed her son had a deadly condition. In this case, the mother's life was not in peril so she couldn't get an abortion in Maine, even though her doctor recommended an abortion because her son would've been unable to breathe.
Assistant Minority Leader Amy Arata (R-New Gloucester) responded by telling The Maine Wire, "No Republican has ever advocated against abortion in the case of the life of the mother. We've been willing to discuss the cases of a fatal fetal diagnosis, always."
"If this passes, babies will be able to be aborted at any time — up to birth — for any reason that's deemed necessary, whatever that means," Arata said.
In a press release, Gov. Mills said a "broad coalition" of organizations had endorsed the proposed legislation.
The coalition Mills touted includes representatives of the abortion industry who stand to see increased revenues from higher rates of abortion in Maine, including Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and Maine Family Planning, according to The Maine Wire.
In recent years, both of these organizations have taken in between $12 million and $14 million annually, according to tax documents, the outlet reported.
Meanwhile, other Maine lawmakers are looking to also potentially limit the reach of pro-life health care providers in the state by policing every media advertisement, including all printed pamphlets created by the pregnancy centers.
Last month, state Rep. Lori Gramlich (D-Old Orchard Beach) introduced a bill that would enable the state Attorney General's office to police the speech of pro-life pregnancy centers to ensure that the facilities aren't "tricking" women into becoming mothers by rejecting abortions.
According to the proposed measure titled An Act to Prohibit Deceptive Advertising in Limited Pregnancy Services Centers (LD 1137), a limited pregnancy services center may not, in connection with providing a medical or health counseling service related to pregnancy or pregnancy prevention, provide, disseminate or cause the dissemination of information, or provide only partial information, about pregnancy, pregnancy prevention or abortion that it knows or reasonably should know is deceptive or misleading.
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