Maine governor signs law expanding number of medical professions allowed to perform abortions

Maine governor signs law expanding number of medical professions allowed to perform abortions
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Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) on Monday signed a measure into law that expands the types of medical professionals who can perform abortions in the state.

The measure, which is set to become law in September, will allow physician assistants, advanced practice registered nurses and other medical professionals to perform abortions with oral medicine or in-clinic procedures, The New York Times reported.  

“Allowing qualified and licensed medical professionals to perform abortions will ensure that Maine women, especially those in rural areas, are able to access critical reproductive health care services when and where they need them from qualified providers they know and trust," Mills said in a statement

“By signing this bill into law, Maine is defending the rights of women and taking a step towards equalizing access to care as other states are seeking to undermine, rollback, or outright eliminate these services.”

Mills's office added that there are only three cities in Maine where a patient has access to an aspiration abortion, which is a type of procedure that utilizes suction. The Times noted that the new law may make it easier for clinics in rural areas to provide the abortion procedure. 

The majority of U.S. states mandate that an aspiration abortion be performed by a physician. 

The governor's office pointed to other states that allow nondoctor medical professionals to perform abortions. According to the statement, seven other states permit nurse practitioners and advanced practice registered nurses to perform the procedure. 

House Speaker Sara Gideon (D), who sponsored the bill, celebrated Mills's signing, saying in a statement that "this law will allow women to receive the care they need from a provider they trust and eliminate the financial and logistical hurdles they face today."

The law is set to go into effect at a time when many other state legislatures have enacted more restrictive abortion policies. Governors in Georgia, Louisiana, Ohio, Kentucky and Alabama have signed laws aimed to curb access to the procedure.