House and Senate approve bill to expand abortion access in Maine

Bill now goes back to Senate for final vote
Published: Jun. 27, 2023 at 1:01 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WMTW) - Maine’s House voting Tuesday night to pass a bill that would expand access to abortion any time before birth, including after the point of viability at 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Earlier in the afternoon, Maine’s Senate gave an early approval of the bill in a 21 to 13 vote. Just hours later, the House cast their vote with a 73 to 69 vote.

The bill is sponsored by Governor Mills. It would allow abortion after fetal viability if it were deemed necessary by a licensed physician.

Supporters of the bill say it has to do with wanted pregnancies where there are fatal fetal abnormalities.

Senator Eric Brakey opposes the bill saying the term fetal fatal abnormalities was not defined in the bill.

”The bill does not provide any specificity in that regard,” says Brakey. “It allows for abortion in the third trimester as long as a physician deems it necessary and performs it in accordance with standards of care. Those are the only two requirements there. It’s very broad and open ended, and for anyone to claim that this will only be used for fatal fetal abnormalities, that just doesn’t pass the straight face test.”

“I want to be clear that this bill is not about someone choosing to have an abortion later in their preganacy for any reason,” says Senator Eloise Vitelli. “It must be a decision made for medical reasons in consultation with licensed providers who are outlined in this bill. “

Governor Mills and House Speaker Rachel Talbot Ross have described the bill as a defense of reproductive rights.

The bills now heads back to the Senate for another vote.

If it passes next week’s Senate vote and is signed by the governor, Maine would have the least restrictive abortion laws in the country.