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Bill Limiting Contraceptive Access to Minors Introduced in Maine

Legislation has been proposed by Maine Republican state Senator Doug Smith for the second time that would require parental consent for the distribution of prescribed medication to minors in the state. The act, entitled “An Act to Protect the Safety of Maine Children by Requiring the Express Consent of a Legal Guardian To Dispense Prescription Medication to a Minor” aims to restrict access to prescription contraceptives and emergency contraception.

A similar bill was killed in the legislative council last year in a 5 to 4 party-line vote (see PDF) with Democrats voting against the bill and Republicans in support of it. Both bills are Smith’s response to an October 2007 decision by the Portland, Maine school board that allows a middle school health center to distribute contraceptives without parental consent.

In an editorial for The Maine Campus, Lisa Haberzettl noted that minors gained the right to confidential reproductive healthcare access in 1973 and that similar legislation passed in Texas is resulting in a projected 8,000 extra teenage pregnancies, 5,000 births, and 1,600 abortions.

Sources:

The Maine Campus 2/9/09; RH Reality Check 2/10/09; State Senator Doug Smith Press Release 1/24/08

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