by Steven Ertelt
April 19, 2007
Augusta, ME (LifeNews.com) — Wednesday’s ruling has invigorated pro-life advocates in Maine who are working feverishly to stop a bill that would force residents there to spend $300,000 on taxpayer funded abortions. The state of Maine already gives over $1 million annually to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, which does abortions there.
Rita Feeney, president of Maine Right to Life, told the Portland Press Herald that she hopes the victory at the Supreme Court on the partial-birth abortion ban will inspire pro-life advocates in the state to tell their legislators to oppose the bill.
But Senate President Beth Edmonds, told the Herald that her measure had nothing to do with partial-birth abortion and called it a "fairness issue" that poor women in Maine can’t afford abortions without taxpayer funds.
Her measure, LD 1309, is slated for a public hearing next week.
The bill has the support of pro-abortion groups such as the Family Planning Association of Maine and the Maine Women’s Lobby but pro-life groups like the Christian Civic League and the Catholic Diocese of Portland are joining Right to Life in opposing the bill.
The groups are holding a rally on The Capitol Steps on April 26th at noon and they are asking for pro-life advocates to attend to build opposition to the bill. The Health & Human Services Committee will hold a hearing on the measure later that day.
CCL’s director Mike Health, the group’s director, talked about his group’s position in a recent Bangor Daily News interview.
"It’s immoral for us to have abortion, period," he said, but "to think that Christian, tax-paying [Maine] citizens will be forced to pay for abortions is absolutely unconscionable, it’s beyond wrong."
Heath says the bill already has the support of legislators on both sides of the aisle as four Maine Republican legislators are co-sponsoring the bill.
Included as current co-sponsors of the abortion funding bill are: State Senator Peter Mills (R-Somerset County), State Rep. Abigail Holman (R-Fayette), State Rep. Roberta M. Muse (R-Fryeburg), and State Rep. Meredith N. Strang Burgess (R-Cumberland).
Heath says that appears to contradict a new platform of the Maine Republican Party which supports parental notification on abortion as a way to limit abortions. Tax funding of abortions would likely increase the number of abortions in the state.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention says there are about 2,500 abortions annually in the state.