Gov. Mills introduces legislation to expand access to abortion

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AUGUSTA, Maine — (WMTW) Maine Gov. Janet Mills has introduced a bill in the Legislature that would allow a physician assistant and certain nurses to perform abortions, her office announced Thursday.

Mills introduced a similar bill last legislative session when she was attorney general.

"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. It is time to remedy this inequity that negatively impacts too many Maine women."

House Speaker Sarah Gideon, D-Freeport, is sponsoring the bill.

"No matter where they live, every woman has the right to safely make her own health decisions and to control her own future," Gideon said in statement. "I'm proud to sponsor this bill which will finally correct an outdated law that severely limits safe access to abortion. Women in rural Maine have been disproportionately harmed, where the sheer logistics of arranging for travel, taking time off work and securing child care create an often insurmountable barrier to accessing the full range of family planning services. The time to move forward is now, Maine women should not have to wait any longer."

According to the governor's office, there are three publicly accessible health centers in Maine where a woman can receive an in-clinic abortion.

Mills said the current law, which bans advanced practice clinicians from performing abortions, cites no medical justification.