Maine lawmakers may allow medical professionals who aren’t doctors to perform abortions.
It's a proposal making its way through the state’s legislature. Maine Speaker of the House Sara Gideon, who sponsored the bill, says its meant to replace a decades-old Maine law requiring doctors to perform abortions put in place to prevent illegitimate procedures.
"Now, we have advance practice clinicians, people like nurse midwives, physician assistants and nurse practitioners whose scope of practice includes similar services [to abortion] and are perfectly capable of performing these services," she said.
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Gideon also thinks expanding who can perform an abortion will help women who need care in rural parts of the state.
She believes it’s difficult for women living far away from Maine’s service centers to find time to get access to abortion services they might need.
"If you’re a woman who’s living in Fort Kent, for example, and if you are not able to get the day off of work to travel all the way to Portland, that can really be a barrier for you," she said.
Other lawmakers, like Republican Rep. Mary Anne Knney, voted 'nay' and some have very personal reasons why.
"When I had my miscarriage, I basically had what would be a spontaneous abortion," Kinney said. "When I started to hemorrhage, my doctor referred me to a specialist, not to someone with less schooling, not to someone with less training."
Kinney says she’s worried medical professional who aren’t doctors may truly be unqualified to perform abortions and regardless, she is opposed to any type of abortion whatsoever.
She thinks the bill is a problem because more people could come from other states to Maine seeking abortions.
"It’s a false narrative to kill more babies," said Kinney.
The bill now heads to Maine’s senate, which could vote on it later this week.
If it clears that chamber it will head back to both legislative bodies for enactment before landing on Gov. Mills desk for her signature.
If Maine expands which medical service providers can perform abortions, it will not be alone. There are other states that have already passed laws allowing that including, New Hampshire.