Senate Democratic leaders laud ACLU effort to restore abortion coverage

Posted: November 24, 2015 | Front Page, News Items, Senator Alfond, Senator Hill

AUGUSTA — On Tuesday, the ACLU of Maine filed a lawsuit to restore abortion coverage for low-income Maine women who qualify for MaineCare.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three Maine-based health care organizations that provide services to tens of thousands of Mainers every year. Maine Senate Democratic leaders released the following statements commending their goals of ensuring equal access to safe, legal abortion.

“The current situation means that not all women have equal access to the full slate of pregnancy related services, including abortion,” said Senate Democratic Leader Justin Alfond of Portland. “It’s wrong that women covered by MaineCare have fewer options than women covered by private insurance. We don’t discriminate against low-income people in Maine.”

“A woman’s decision whether to have a child is between her and her doctor,” said Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Dawn Hill of York. “That must be true regardless of how much money she makes. Not everyone has the same views about abortion, and everyone has the right to their opinion. But we should all agree that politicians and bureaucrats in Augusta have no business withholding coverage from a woman because they disagree with her decisions.”

While federal law prevents the use of federal funds to cover most abortion services, states may elect to use their own dollars to pay for abortion. Similar lawsuits filed in other states have been successful, and led to better coverage for low-income women.

The ACLU of Maine’s lawsuit was filed Tuesday in Maine Superior Court. While the state’s policy to deny abortion to MaineCare-eligible women predates the LePage administration, the complaint was made against Mary Mayhew in her capacity as commissioner of the Maine Department of Health Human Services.

The full complaint can be found here