Yesterday, Maine House passed a bill to use state funds to cover abortion services and if the bill becomes law, then Maine will be the 16th state to allow public funds on abortions.
In a 79-63 party line vote, bill L.D. 820 passed the Maine House and will now be debated on in the Senate where Democrats also hold a majority. Abortion rights advocates are hopeful that the bill will pass the Senate as well and be signed into law by Democratic Governor Janet Mills.
“No one – no politician, no insurance company – should ever come between a person and their health care provider,” argued bill co-sponsor Rep. Joyce McCreight yesterday. She continued, “we have created a system that opens the door for those with means to pay, while slamming it for those less fortunate. It is unfair and it is discrimination.”
Rep. Margaret O’Neil said that it “scares” her to “think of a woman having that choice [of an abortion] taken away from simply because she does not have the right insurance coverage or she does not have the money to access the appropriate health care procedure.”
“We all deserve health coverage that includes all medically necessary care. This legislation will be a dramatic step toward making that a reality for the women of Maine. It will make Maine one of the most progressive states in the country on abortion rights. We urge the Maine Senate to follow suit and pass L.D. 820,” said George Hill, CEO of Maine Family Planning in a public statement.
While the Hyde Amendment bans federal funds from being used for abortion services, fifteen states have passed laws to use state funds on abortions. Mainecare, Maine’s Medicaid program, currently covers abortion services but only in the cases of rape, incest, or when the mother’s life is at risk. This bill would greatly expand abortion access for people with Medicaid and who would otherwise find reproductive healthcare inaccessible.
Media Sources: Press Herald 5/8/19