Maine enforces new laws for health plans to cover abortions, non-doctors to commit them
AUGUSTA, Maine, September 20, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Two new pro-abortion laws took effect in Maine this week, one expanding the ability to commit abortions from actual doctors to physician assistants and some types of nurses, and another requiring certain health insurance plans to pay for abortions.
LD 1261 allows advanced nurse practitioners and physician assistants to be allowed to perform medication-administered abortions. LD 820 requires health insurance plans that cover maternity care to also cover abortions, with churches and religious schools allowed to seek exemptions. It also provides that abortions not covered by Medicaid “must be funded by state funds within existing resources.”
Both new laws took effect Thursday after being signed into law by Democrat Gov. Janet Mills in June.
"Every woman in Maine should be able to access sexual and reproductive health care when and where they need it," Mills told CNN. "While other states are seeking to undermine, roll back, or outright eliminate a woman's right to make her own personal medical decisions, Maine is defending the rights of women and taking a critical step towards equalizing access to their care."
Pro-lifers object that letting non-doctors commit abortions puts abortion-seeking women in greater danger by subjecting them to abortionists with less training or experience. Infamous Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell delegated parts of the abortion process such as administering anesthesia to non-physician employees, one of whom was only 15 years old.
Critics also argue that forcing abortion into health insurance plans violates the conscience rights of both companies and customers who oppose abortion. LD 820 exempts “religious employers” from the mandate, but its narrow definition of “religious employer” only applies to federally-recognized, tax-exempt churches or schools and associations affiliated with churches, not to all private businesses or nonprofits with religious owners or a religious mission statement.
Pro-lifers also fear both laws will increase the number of abortions in the state. The Bangor Daily News reported in March that LD 1261 would effectively increase the number of locations in Maine that can commit abortions from three to 18.
Maine pro-life groups have attempted to collect signatures in hopes of putting the new laws to a referendum vote, but Christian Civic League of Maine executive director Carroll Conley announced Wednesday that they do not expect to gather enough signatures to qualify for the ballot, but remain committed to fighting the new laws.
“Recent polling compiled this spring showed that the majority of Mainers do not support tax-funded abortions,” he said. “We also continue to strongly agree with the American Medical Association, the hospice providers, and the disability community who agree that normalizing suicide when suicide rates are soaring among teens, veterans, and the elderly is reckless public policy.”
“There is too much at stake for us to abandon advocacy for the human dignity of all,” Conley declared. “We will take lessons learned from this process and focus on upcoming elections. Our hope is enough Mainers who value life at all stages have been energized and will remain engaged to ensure our legislature does not continue to undervalue life.”