House Votes to Pass Governor’s Bill to End Outdated Ban on Abortion Care

LD 1261 Will Allow Nurse Practitioners and Other Qualified Advanced Practice Clinicians to Provide Abortion Care

Affiliate: ACLU of Maine
May 21, 2019 2:45 pm

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AUGUSTA – The Maine House of Representatives today voted 74-58 in favor of a governor’s bill sponsored by Speaker Sara Gideon that would end Maine’s outdated law banning qualified and trained nurse practitioners and other advanced practice clinicians (APCs) from providing abortion care.

The ACLU of Maine, Mabel Wadsworth Center, Maine Family Planning, and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England applauded the vote, saying the bill will help ensure all Mainers have access to safe abortion care from qualified, trusted providers in their communities.

Data, including from the CDC, shows abortion has a 99 percent safety record, meaning fewer than one percent of abortions have complications. Peer-reviewed medical literature, including a recent four-year study of more than 11,000 abortion patients published in the American Journal of Public Health, uniformly confirms that nurse practitioners and other APCs can safely and effectively provide abortion care.

The Maine Medical Association has voiced its support for the bill, and health organizations including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the World Health Organization, and the American Public Health Association support allowing nurse practitioners and other APCs to provide abortion care. They have been doing so in other states – including New Hampshire and Vermont – for decades. Currently, nurse practitioners and other APCs in Maine provide a wide range of health services of equal or greater complexity than abortion.

The bill faces further votes in the Senate.

The following quotes can be attributed as noted:

Alison Bates, Nurse Practitioner, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England

“Today’s vote is a gesture of Maine’s support for trained and qualified Advanced Practice Clinicians to provide care to our patients in their communities when they need it. It’s a gesture of support for each Mainer’s right to make their decisions about abortion, including seeking care from their trusted provider. And in light of the recent bans on safe and legal abortion in other states, today’s vote is a reminder of Maine’s commitment to safe abortion care, without added or medically unnecessary burdens.”

Kate Brogan, Vice President for Public Affairs at Maine Family Planning

“Abortion is health care, and there is no medical reason why nurse practitioners and other Advanced Practice Clinicians shouldn’t be able to provide that care to patients in their communities. We are pleased that Maine lawmakers listened to the medical experts and recognized that politics has no place in the exam room.”

Andrea Irwin, Executive Director, Mabel Wadsworth Center

“This vote truly reflects Maine values to support people who need abortion care, rather than putting up roadblocks or trying to punish them. We are outraged by the extreme, politically-motivated bans to end safe and legal abortion in other states. This bill sends a strong message: policies that impact our health should be based on medical evidence and guided by the experiences of people who need abortion care rather than politicians.”

Oamshri Amarasingham, Advocacy Director, ACLU of Maine

“As other states pass laws outlawing abortion, Maine legislators are stepping up to truly protect the health and well-being of women and families. This bill will help ensure each of us can make decisions about our health and our future without political interference.”

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