Maine House Panel Considers Three Abortion-Related Bills

May 5, 2011 — The Maine House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday held hearings on three antiabortion-rights bills under consideration by the state's first Republican-led Legislature in decades, the AP/Washington Examiner reports.

One bill (HP 98) would require a 24-hour waiting period prior to an abortion, except in cases of medical emergency. Another measure (HP 684) would require that women seeking abortion services be informed of the risks of abortion at least 24 hours before the procedure and require state health officials to develop a brochure describing the risks and alternatives to abortion.

The third bill (HP 1072) would repeal the state's current parental consent law, which requires consent from a minor's parents, guardians, an adult family member, judge or counselor before she may have an abortion. Instead, the bill would require the minor to obtain notarized written consent from a parent or legal guardian, with few exceptions.

At Tuesday's hearing, opponents testified that informed consent already takes place under current law, as it does with any medical procedure. Joan Leitzer, a doctor and psychiatrist in Portland, said the government-authored notification that is proposed would contain "coercive" language aimed at convincing women against having an abortion (Adams, AP/Washington Examiner, 5/3).