Maine Committee Holds Hearing on Pro-Life Bills on Abortions

State   Steven Ertelt   May 3, 2011   |   4:53PM    Washington, DC

The Maine legislature is not a place where pro-life legislation typically gets a chance to be heard, but the Maine Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary held a hearing today on three pro-life bills under consideration.

Americans United for Life Action Vice President for Government Affairs Dan McConchie testified for the legislation along with local pro-life groups and women who have been injured by abortions or regret their abortion decisions who favor the bills.

Sponsored by Rep. Tyler Clark, LD116 would require a 24-hour reflection period prior to an abortion to protect women who may feel pressured into the procedure. Rep. Eleanor Espling sponsored LD 924, which would require that women be informed on the medical risks of the abortion procedure as well as require a 24-hour reflection period before an abortion.

The third measure, LD 1457, is sponsored by Rep. Dale Crafts and it would strengthen consent laws for abortions for girls under the care of their parents or guardians to protect them from sexual predators who might try and arrange an abortion without the protection parents.

“This legislation provides women and the parents of pregnant minors every opportunity to be knowledgeably informed about an abortion procedure before choosing whether to undergo one,” said McConchie. “These commonsense bills will ensure all women get more information about the risks of abortion and ensure a young girl’s parents are involved in the decision-making process. These are bills everyone, regardless of views on abortion, can get behind and support.”

The Christian Civic League of Maine also supports the legislation and urged Maine residents to let their legislators know they support the bills.

“Since abortion must be decided on a federal level we all agree that as long as abortions are legal, they should be safe and rare. These bills go a long way to make that a reality in Maine,” said Carroll Conley, executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine

On the other side, pro-abortion groups held a morning press conference today with several Republican lawmakers and members of the Maine Women’s Lobby, the Maine Civil Liberties Union and a pair of Maine abortion practitioners to oppose the bills.

“We don’t have freedom unless we have it in the hard situations,” said state Rep. Les Fossel, R-Alna. “This is about trusting people and having government leave us alone.”

Betsy Weiss, the medical director of the Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center abortion business in Bangor, also opposed the legislation as did Robert Walker, an obstetrician-gynecologist from Blue Hill.

With a Republican majority in the State House and with pro-life Republican Gov. Paul LePage, pro-life advocates hope they have a chance to finally enact legislation which would cut the number of abortions in Maine.

ACTION: Contact members of the Maine legislature for the bill at https://www.maine.gov/legis