L.D. 780: Abortion access

Resolution, Proposing an Amendment to the Constitution of Maine to Protect Reproductive Autonomy.
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The Senate placed the measure on the appropriations table, but without passage in the House, the measure is effectively dead.
The Maine Monitor is recapping the 131st Legislature by highlighting legislative bills you should know about. View all of our recaps.

An effort during the recent legislative session to enshrine access to abortion in the state constitution garnered majority support from lawmakers but fell short of the two-thirds majority required to pass a constitutional amendment. 

The House voted 75-65 in favor of the measure, which was not enough for ratification.

The Senate placed the measure on the appropriations table, but without passage in the House, the measure is effectively dead.

Read the full bill on the legislature’s website.

If you’d like to get a better sense of the debate, here are some excerpts from testimony: 

For:

“I know we do not all share views on issues like abortion and birth control, but perhaps we can agree it’s beyond time for Maine people to decide whether or not they consent to an ever-shifting group of legislators making private health care decisions on their behalf.” ~ Connie Adler, Grandmothers for Reproductive Rights

“Abortions are chosen by folks of all ages, all religions, all relationship status and are exceedingly common. When we ensure access to safe and low-risk medication and clinical abortions, we ensure safer outcomes. As residents of Maine, we deserve to have this choice and access clearly enshrined in the constitution so that it is not a regularly debated topic each election cycle.” ~ Kristen Bonnette, Montville

“We all want just and fair opportunities to be healthy and the freedom to make our own health choices with our doctor. In the context of reproductive health care, actions that correct disparities include education about sexuality and health, access to affordable and quality prenatal and postpartum care, paid parental leave and child care, increased preventive measures and support systems for people living in physically, emotionally, and economically abusive situations, and access to safe, timely, affordable and respectful abortion care. A healthy public requires that such choices always be available to everyone.” ~ Rebecca Boulos, Maine Public Health Association

Against: 

“Amending the state constitution to enshrine a ‘right’ to abortion may impede the state from enacting future common-sense protections for women and preborn children. Lastly, the resolutions further the false and harmful narrative that abortion is necessary for women’s equality in America.” ~ Danielle Pimentel, Americans United for Life

“lt is the epitome of discrimination. A preborn baby is 100 percent defenseless. We prosecute people for killing bigger humans who at least have some sort of defense. How dangerous it is when we want to enshrine into our constitution the legalization of the bigger and stronger to kill the smaller and weaker. Be careful. We are all smaller and weaker than someone.” ~ Wendy Merrill, Benton

“At the center of this debate and L.D. 780 is autonomy. Apparently there is now nothing more important in human existence than autonomy. Therefore, those who support abortion without restriction no longer argue he or she isn’t human. Now the argument is he or she is inconvenient, he or she is disabled, he or she might be poor, he or she is the wrong gender.” ~ Carroll Conley, Christian Civic League of Maine

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Rose Lundy

Rose Lundy covers public health for The Maine Monitor. She is a 2020 Report for America corps member, and a 2022 ProPublica Local Reporting Network fellow. Rose previously covered politics and local government at The Daily News in southwest Washington. She grew up in Minnesota and graduated from the University of Wisconsin.
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