Maine lawmakers pass bill to shield providers of abortion, trans surgeries for minors

A sign hangs above a Planned Parenthood clinic on May 18, 2018, in Chicago, Illinois.
A sign hangs above a Planned Parenthood clinic on May 18, 2018, in Chicago, Illinois. | Scott Olson/Getty Images

Lawmakers in Maine have passed a bill that protects providers of abortion and cosmetic sex change services for trans-identified minors from prosecution by officials from other states that restrict such procedures. 

Legislative Document 227, also known as "An Act Regarding Legally Protected Health Care Activity in the State," passed the state House last week in a vote of 79-67 and the state Senate in a vote of 21-13.

The legislation awaits the signature of Democrat Gov. Janet Mills, who last year signed into law a measure that expanded the legality of abortion to effectively include any reason up until birth.

Get Our Latest News for FREE

Subscribe to get daily/weekly email with the top stories (plus special offers!) from The Christian Post. Be the first to know.

"Access to gender-affirming health care services and reproductive health care services in this State, as authorized under the laws of this State, is a legal right," reads LD 227, in part.

"Whether or not under the color of law, interference with legally protected health care activity and interference with aiding and assisting legally protected health care activity is against the public policy of this State."

Nearly two dozen states have enacted bans on some or all forms of gender transition procedures for minors. Additionally, about two dozen states have laws that restrict the legality of abortion — some restricting nearly all abortions. 

In Maine, abortion is legal through all stages of pregnancy. Last year, Maine lawmakers passed a bill to allow trans-identified 16 and 17-year-olds to receive hormone interventions without parental approval. Sex change surgeries for minors are legal in Maine with parental approval. 

Legislative Document 227 would bar law enforcement from extraditing trans-identified patients or cooperating with other state agencies in their investigations related to gender interventions provided in the state. Additionally, warrants from other states seeking information on such procedures are to be considered the "lowest law enforcement priority."

The legislation also states that state courts "may not order a person who is domiciled or found within this State to give testimony or a statement or produce documents or other information in any proceeding involving hostile litigation" against a provider of abortion or gender interventions.

Progressive groups like the Planned Parenthood Action Fund supported the bill, arguing that LD 227 provides necessary healthcare for trans-identified minors and women seeking abortions.

Conservative groups like the Christian Civic League of Maine opposed the legislation, with Executive Director Carroll Conley arguing that the bill was "one of the worst, if not the worst pieces of legislation I've seen in my 14 years directing the League."

"Elevating abortion and transgender 'medical' procedures to a legal right will wreak havoc in our state. It is also my responsibility to provoke you to act and stand up to these assaults upon the image of God," stated Conley.

Lisa Margulies, vice president of Public Affairs with Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund, contends that "Full spectrum reproductive health care and gender-affirming health care are essential, lifesaving services that are safe and legal in Maine."

"Maine is not immune to the disingenuous and harmful rhetoric spread by extremists opposed to people accessing safe, legal medical care, and it is critical that our lawmakers listen to the facts and act to protect providers, patients, and people who help patients access this care," Margulies said in a statement.

Last month, a group of 16 state attorneys general led by Tennessee Attorney General Jonathan Skrmetti sent a letter to Maine officials expressing opposition to LD 227, asserting that the bill would "contravene the lawful policy choices of our States' citizens by imposing on the rest of the country Maine's views on hotly debated issues such as gender transition surgeries for children."

"As currently drafted, LD 227 violates the United States Constitution and flouts the federalist structure that allows each of our States to engage in self-government responsive to the will of our citizens," continued the letter.

"The Constitution's Full Faith and Credit Clause, and federal statutes implementing it, mean no state cause of action should ever accrue from a different State lawfully enforcing its own permissible laws or executing valid judgments."

The attorneys general warned that if Maine passes the law, "we will vigorously avail ourselves of every recourse our Constitution provides."

Maine Attorney General Aaron Frey rejected the letter in a statement, saying that shield laws were necessary because other states were trying "to punish beyond their borders lawful behavior that occurs in Maine and other states."

"Harmony between our states would be best preserved and promoted by the exercise of restraint by all parties seeking to control health care related policy choices in other states," Frey added.

Although the legislature was able to pass the shield, last week, Maine lawmakers were unable to secure the necessary two-thirds majority to enshrine a right to an abortion in the state constitution, effectively killing the measure.

Follow Michael Gryboski on Twitter or Facebook

Was this article helpful?

Help keep The Christian Post free for everyone.

By making a recurring donation or a one-time donation of any amount, you're helping to keep CP's articles free and accessible for everyone.

We’re sorry to hear that.

Hope you’ll give us another try and check out some other articles. Return to homepage.

Most Popular

More Articles