Maine governor submits bill allowing medical professionals who aren't doctors perform abortions

Maine governor submits bill allowing medical professionals who aren't doctors perform abortions
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Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) submitted a bill to expand the number of medical professionals besides physicians who could perform abortions, The Bangor Daily News reported.

The bill was sponsored by House Speaker Sara Gideon (D) Thursday and would allow a physician assistant, an advanced practice registered nurse, certified nurse-midwives or other medical professional to perform the procedure.

State law only allows physicians to perform abortions.

“No mater where thy live, every woman has the right to safely make her own health decision and to control her own future,” Gideon wrote on Twitter. “I’m proud to sponsor this bill which will finally correct and outdated law the severely limits safe access to abortion."

The bill is almost identical to the one Mills offered as the state’s former attorney general last year during the Republican administration of former Gov. Paul LePage, The Sun Journal noted. Democrats have since regained majorities in both the Maine House and Senate.

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“Every woman in Maine should be able to access reproductive health care when and where she needs it, regardless of her zip code,” Mills said in a statement. “Allowing advanced nurse practitioners and physician assistants to perform medication-administered abortions, which are already permitted in other states, will ensure Maine women, especially in rural areas of our state, can access reproductive health care services.”

There are three publicly accessible health centers where a woman can receive the procedure. The proposed bill would increase the number to 18, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine and Planned Parenthood.

The bill was referred to the Maine Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services and will be scheduled for a public hearing.

If the bill comes law, Maine would be the ninth state to authorize health care practitioners other than physicians to provide abortion services, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health and rights research organization.