Planned Parenthood, ACLU challenge Maine’s physician-only law

By Dave Andrusko

A 1979 Maine law, common at the time and prevalent nationwide today, requires that abortions be performed by physicians only.

However, according to the Press Herald, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England and “civil liberties groups,” such as the ACLU and the ACLU of Maine, are suing state Attorney General Janet Mills and the state’s eight district attorneys to change the law so that nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives, who are specifically excluded, can perform abortions.

“Zach Heiden, legal director for the ACLU of Maine, said Wednesday the idea is to test the laws in Maine, and if the lawsuit is successful, legal challenges could be mounted in other states,” according to reporter Joe Lawlor. “Heiden said more than 35 states have similar laws requiring that abortions be carried out only by doctors.”

Plaintiffs argue that the law is outdated and point to California where physician assistants, nurse practitioners, and nurse midwives are able to perform first-trimester aspiration abortions, thanks to a change in the law in 2013.

Planned Parenthood also contends that “Today, some women living in northern Maine have to make a more than six-hour round-trip to Bangor for an abortion, even though there is a qualified, experienced (nurse-midwife) in their community ready to provide this care.”

Evelyn Kieltyka of the Family Planning Association told Lawlor that if the law is changed, abortions could be performed beyond the metropolitan areas and turned into “an in-office procedure available in clinics around the state.”

NRL News Today asked NRLC Director of Education and Research Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon to comment:

Abortionists have been quitting the field in droves, leaving the abortion industry scrambling for replacements. But the truth is that good doctors want to cure, not kill, and don’t want anything to do with aborting innocent human lives. So the industry is turning to nurse practitioners and nurse midwives, who are more numerous and don’t have to have the same training as full M.D., trying to convince a few of them to come in and shore up the staffing shortage.

Unless they are also planning some special training program to teach the nurses how to perform surgical abortions, they’d probably be deployed to prescribe chemical abortions. These are promoted as safe and simple procedures, but the reality is quite different for many women.

If women have problems–and many do–and began to hemorrhage, experience a ruptured ectopic pregnancy, or contract a life-threatening infection, that will likely become the problem of the closest ER, forcing doctors to deal with medical problems resulting from the use of less qualified medical personnel.