Maine enforces new laws for health plans to cover abortions, non-doctors to commit them

By Calvin Freiburger

Editor’s note. This is excerpted from a post at LifeSiteNews.

AUGUSTA, Maine– Two new pro-abortion laws took effect in Maine this past week, one expanding the ability to commit abortions from actual doctors to physician assistants and some types of nurses, and another requiring certain health insurance plans to pay for abortions.

LD 1261 allows advanced nurse practitioners and physician assistants to be allowed to perform medication-administered abortions. LD 820 requires health insurance plans that cover maternity care to also cover abortions, with churches and religious schools allowed to seek exemptions. It also provides that abortions not covered by Medicaid “must be funded by state funds within existing resources.”

Both new laws took effect Thursday after being signed into law by Democrat Gov. Janet Mills in June.

“Every woman in Maine should be able to access sexual and reproductive health care when and where they need it,” Mills told CNN. “While other states are seeking to undermine, roll back, or outright eliminate a woman’s right to make her own personal medical decisions, Maine is defending the rights of women and taking a critical step towards equalizing access to their care.”

Pro-lifers object that letting non-doctors commit abortions puts abortion-seeking women in greater danger by subjecting them to abortionists with less training or experience. Infamous Philadelphia abortionist Kermit Gosnell delegated parts of the abortion process such as administering anesthesia to non-physician employees, one of whom was only 15 years old.

Critics also argue that forcing abortion into health insurance plans violates the conscience rights of both companies and customers who oppose abortion. LD 820 exempts “religious employers” from the mandate, but its narrow definition of “religious employer” only applies to federally-recognized, tax-exempt churches or schools and associations affiliated with churches, not to all private businesses or nonprofits with religious owners or a religious mission statement.

Pro-lifers also fear both laws will increase the number of abortions in the state. The Bangor Daily News reported in March that LD 1261 would effectively increase the number of locations in Maine that can commit abortions from three to 18.