June 22, 2015 — The Maine Legislature on Wednesday rejected a bill (LD 83) that would have required minors to involve their parent in their abortion decision, the Bangor Daily News/Maine Sun Journal reports.
According to the Daily News/Sun Journal, the state Senate rejected the measure in a 17-18 vote, while the state House voted 77-67 against the bill.
The measure would have required all women younger than age 18 to obtain parental consent or ask for judicial permission before having an abortion. The measure included an exception for medical emergencies.
Currently, state law (Title 22) requires minors seeking abortion care to confer with a family member. According to the Guttmacher Institute, the abortion rate for teens in Maine fell 60% between 1989 -- when Title 22 was enacted -- and 2008. That rate has continued to decrease.
State Senate Majority Leader Garrett Mason (R), state Sen. Amy Volk (R) and other bill supporters said it would ensure family involvement in minors' abortion decisions while also providing a judicial bypass procedure as an alternative.
Meanwhile, state Rep. Charlotte Warren (D) voiced opposition to the bill, saying, "Young women who choose not to involve a parent often have very real concerns for their safety."
Similarly, Eliza Townsend, executive director of the Maine Women's Lobby, praised the state Senate vote. She said, "[W]e have an existing statute that works well and has been working for decades" (Moretto, Bangor Daily News/Maine Sun Journal, 6/18).
Maine Senate Votes to Bar Shackling of Pregnant Inmates
In related news, the Maine Senate on Thursday approved a bill (LD 1013) that would limit the use of restraints on pregnant inmates, AP/San Francisco Chronicle reports (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 6/18).
The bill, introduced by Sen. Anne Haskell (D), bans jails and prisons from shackling pregnant prisoners during childbirth or recovery, except in cases of "extraordinary medical or security need" or if an inmate is considered a flight risk.
The measure now heads to the state House (AP/San Francisco Chronicle, 6/18).