Three pro-life bills heard in Maine

By Dave Andrusko

“Unfortunately, there is no ‘reset ‘ button with abortion.”

Teresa Tumidajski of the Maine Right to Life Committee, before the Maine House Judiciary committee.

The headline in the Westport News is music to the ears of pro-life Mainers. “Overflow crowd turns out for 3 abortion bills.” In a state that has been notoriously hostile to pro-life measures, this hearing in the House Judiciary Committee represented an important step forward. Having these measures introduced is evidence once again that elections DO matter.

The trio of bills tightens up a lax consent law and gives women time—and information—before making a life and death decision.

According to the Associated Press (AP), LD 1457 addresses the current abortion consent law. As it stands various parties can give consent in addition to parents—including guardians, an adult family member, and counselors. The bill, introduced by state Rep. Dale J. Crafts, would “require notarized written consent of a parent or legal guardian before an abortion may be performed on a minor, with some exceptions.”

Crafts “said more parent involvement is required for getting wisdom teeth removed — or even attending a snowboarding event — than for getting an abortion,” the AP reported.

L.D. 116, sponsored by state Rep. Tyler Clark, requires a 24-hour waiting period (except in medical emergencies) while L.D. 924 (sponsored by state Rep. Eleanor Espling) “would require that information about the risks of abortion be made available by a doctor to a woman seeking an abortion at least 24 hours before the procedure,” the AP reported. “Also, state health officials would have to develop a brochure describing the risks and alternatives to abortion.”

Espling said, “The purpose of this bill is to ensure that women are given as much information possible in making a truly informed decision about abortion,” adding, “Under the current informed consent law in Maine, this information is available to a woman, but only if she asks for it.”

Suzanne LaFreniere, a representative of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Portland said, “The real question before you is why would someone not want someone to be fully informed before they make a life-changing decision?” She added, “As it stands right now, doctors do not have to discuss alternatives to abortions unless a patient requests it. This doesn’t make any common sense. If a person is requesting an abortion and seeking one, there’s a small chance that she is considering the alternatives.”

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