June 1, 2015 — The Maine House on Wednesday voted 84-65 to reject a bill (LD 1312) that would impose licensing restrictions on abortion clinics by requiring the state Department of Health and Human Services to establish certain operating standards for the facilities, AP/WABI reports.
The measure now heads to the state Senate for consideration.
State Rep. Deborah Sanderson (R), the bill's sponsor, said the bill aims to ensure patient safety (McVicar, AP/WABI, 5/27).
However, according to MPBN News, abortion-rights supporters said the measure does not aim to address safety concerns, noting that similar bills in other states have been used to reduce access to abortion. For example, opponents noted the measure is similar to a Texas law (HB 2) that has led to clinic closures.
State Rep. Charlotte Warren (D) said, "The truth is that LD 1312 has nothing to do with patient care," adding, "Proposals like LD 1312 are designed by politicians -- not doctors -- to shut down clinics and to end access to safe legal abortion."
Similarly, state Rep. Joyce McCreight (D) said, "What this bill would do is place us in a position of interfering with decisions that belong between a woman and her medical professional -- not between a woman and her legislator." She added that the bill would "cause safe, high-quality, needed health centers to close" and "restrict access to legal safe abortion"(Higgins, MPBN News, 5/27).
Further, abortion-rights supporters noted that the measure is unnecessary because physicians already must be licensed by the state (AP/WABI, 5/27).