Maine Considering Bill to Make Abortion a Legal Right

( – Maine lawmakers are considering a new law that would establish abortions as a “legal right,” as well as transgender surgeries, shielding clinicians from liability.

Clinicians who perform abortion procedures and cosmetic surgeries covered under so-called “gender-affirming care” may receive protection from legal penalties in Maine if a proposed bill makes it through the state’s congress.

On Tuesday, March 5th, supporters and opponents deliberated for over six hours in the hearing room for the Joint Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance, and Financial Services about the future of the proposed legislation, LD 227. No decision has been made yet, and the legislation will probably face more challenges before it makes it to the floor for a vote.

If it passes, the bill will ban “interference” with gender-affirming surgical procedures and abortions. It will also provide legal protections to any clinicians and workers who facilitate such procedures and could even possibly allow medical records to remain concealed from plaintiffs. They would not be able to file warrants, subpoenas, extradition requests, health record requests, and other criminal or civil proceedings against clinicians who provide services banned in the home states of their patients.

Conservative voters and Republican lawmakers who oppose such legislation argue that it may permit the “kidnapping” of minors from other states with heavier restrictions on trans surgeries by one parent against the wishes of another parent, by bringing the child over the border into Maine to receive “gender-affirming care.”

Republican Rep. Laurel Libby said that “interference” according to the state policy could include “a parent interfering.” She said it would essentially turn Maine into “a sanctuary state” for abortions and “transgender medical care” without any “recourse through the courts.”

Supporters of the bill argue that it protects access to life-saving care for women and transgender youth. A Planned Parenthood spokesperson said the legislation “is fundamentally about access to healthcare.”

Ever since the overturning of Roe v. Wade put the ball back into individual states’ hands regarding abortion, it has become one of the most divisive issues in the country. Many states have restricted or outright banned the procedure, while others have enshrined it into state law and loosened restrictions.

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