Maine Senate votes to require MaineCare abortion coverage

AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - A bill to require Maine's medicaid program and private insurers to cover abortion is moving ahead in the Maine Legislature.

MGN/Wolfgang Moroder / CC BY-SA 3.0

The bill passed in the Senate Tuesday.

It previously passed in the House and is backed by Governor Mills.

It would mandate Maine DHHS cover the cost of abortions for people who have MaineCare.

Federal funds can only fund abortions that involve rape, incest or life endangerment.

It would also require private insurance carriers already providing prenatal coverage to ensure coverage for abortion care.

Supporters argue Maine's ban on state medicaid funding for abortions discriminates against low income people.

Opponents say taxpayer funded abortions are unjust.

Senator Heather Sanborn, Democrat from Portland says, "Sometimes that $500 that you have to scrape together in order to receive the care that you need is prohibitive, it causes delay, and it really makes it so that poor women don't have access to the same choice that wealthier women do. So, it's very important that we respect the decisions of all Maine women."

Senator Scott Cyrway, a Republican from Kennebec says, "I am pro-life and I think we as the Republican party have seen life being diminished. This is taking a life and dismembering it when it's beyond medical treatment. This is a serious, serious bill that the Governor should really take a look at."

The bill calls for Maine to cover abortion services with "state funds within existing resources."

That's estimated to cost $375,000 annually.