Health Care Providers and Women’s Rights Advocates Urge Legislators to Reject Anti-Choice Bills

Affiliate: ACLU of Maine
May 16, 2013 4:46 pm

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Bills Threaten Women’s Health and Well-Being

May 16, 2013

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AUGUSTA, Maine – Health care providers and women’s health advocates today called on legislators to reject three dangerous anti-choice bills that could jeopardize the ability of women to get the care they need. The Judiciary Committee will hear public testimony on all three bills today.

“Everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, but they are not entitled to use the government to impose their beliefs on others,” said Shenna Bellows, executive director of the ACLU of Maine. “All three of these bills are aimed at imposing added burdens and pressures on women and chipping away at their constitutional right to choose whether or not to have an abortion.”

LD 760 would require doctors to tell women additional, unnecessary information before they could obtain an abortion.

“This bill would force doctors to tell women unnecessary, coercive information designed to change their minds about whether to end a pregnancy – regardless of whether the patient wants the information or the doctor wants to give it,” said Megan Hannan, director of public policy at Planned Parenthood of Northern New England. “Maine law already ensures that women receive the information they need to make informed decisions. The sole intent of this bill is to shame, judge and confuse women.”

LD 1339 would repeal Maine’s successful adult involvement law and replace it with a law requiring physicians to obtain signed consent from a minor’s parent before she can obtain an abortion.

“We hope every young woman can involve her parents in such a serious decision, but there are times when that is simply not possible. These exceptions are often very complicated, and trying to address them with a one-size-fits-all law could have tragic results,” said Ruth Lockhart, executive director of the Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center. “This bill isn’t going to make it easier for girls who can’t talk to their parents to start doing so. It will only make it harder for our most vulnerable teenagers to get the care they need.”

The third bill, LD 1193, seeks to convey legal status to a fetus, including granting the fetus legal rights to “heirs and an estate.”

“This bill represents a threat to the ability of pregnant women to make decisions about their lives and their pregnancies, and a threat to the availability of health care services for pregnant women in Maine,” said Kate Brogan, vice president for public affairs at the Family Planning Association of Maine. “A pregnant woman and her fetus should never be considered as separate, independent or even adversarial entities. Government has no place interfering with these private medical decisions.”

Members of the Maine Choice Coalition and other advocates for women’s health, reproductive rights and privacy will urge legislators to reject LDs 760, 1339 and 1193 at a hearing in the Judiciary Committee today.

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