The ability to commit abortions should be expanded from actual doctors to physician assistants and some types of nurses, according to a proposal introduced Thursday by Maine Gov. Janet Mills.
“Every woman in Maine should be able to access reproductive health care when and where she needs it, regardless of her ZIP code,” Mills declared, according to a WMTW report. “Allowing advanced nurse practitioners and physician assistants to perform medication-administered abortions, which are already permitted in other states, will ensure Maine women, especially in rural areas of our state, can access reproductive health care services.”
Democrat state House Speaker Sarah Gideon, who is sponsoring the bill, agreed, claiming that women in rural parts of the state “have been disproportionately harmed, where the sheer logistics of arranging for travel, taking time off work and securing child care create an often insurmountable barrier to accessing the full range of family planning services.”
Mills pushed for a similar measure last year as state Attorney General, and pro-abortion organizations like Planned Parenthood and the ACLU have tried to force the state to allow nurse practitioners and licensed midwives to commit abortions since at least 2017.
But “I agree with those bans and I think they should stay in place,” Republican state Rep. Beth O’Connor said, according to WGME. “This will be a party line vote, probably, and hopefully, a few (Democrats) from the other side will be swayed to say ‘no’ to this.”
Objections to the proposal are twofold. First is that it would put 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.
The other concern is that it will increase the number of abortions in the state. The Bangor Daily News reported that the bill would effectively increase the number of locations in Maine that commit abortions from three to 18.
The Christian Civic League of Maine plans to oppose the bill, with executive director Carroll Conley telling the Portland Press Herald that “health care and any expansion of it should be life-affirming and not life-ending.”
The legislation has been referred to the House Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services, which must schedule a public hearing before making a recommendation to the full chamber.