Local legislators back abortion services for MaineCare patients

By Stephen Betts | May 14, 2019
Source: File photo

Augusta — Local legislators were in the majority when both chambers of the Legislature voted to provide abortion services for MaineCare recipients.

The Maine House voted 79-63 May 7 to support LD 820. The Senate followed suit Tuesday, May 14, backing the bill 19-16.

All Knox County legislators voted for the bill. Voting for it were Democratic State Sen. David Miramant of Camden, and Democratic Reps. Pinny Beebe-Center of Rockland, Vicki Doudera of Camden, Ann Matlack of St. George, Genevieve McDonald of Stonington and independents Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos of Friendship, and William Pluecker of Warren.

Miramant said "This was an issue of discrimination to me. Some plans can refuse legal services to certain people based on income or need, and that's not right. This makes everyone equal under the law and fixes an injustice that was put into federal law."

Evangelos said "While I was conflicted about this bill, I ultimately decided that women facing this difficult situation who are already on MaineCare need to be assured that they can access quality health care while they navigate this difficult personal decision. Ultimately, while I supported allowing MaineCare to help these women, their decision regarding abortion is none of my business, and I respect their right to make the choice as their choice and their choice alone."

Doudera said "LD 820 is about fairness, and I voted in favor. It's about giving all Maine women, regardless of their income, access to the full spectrum of reproductive health care choices, including safe and legal procedures such as abortion."

Matlack said "This bill is about respect and equity for all women, irrespective of their financial resources. All women are entitled to receive the medical services they and their doctors determine are appropriate, whether the woman relies on Medicaid or private insurance. I support the right of every woman to make their own choices about pregnancy care, including the right to an abortion."

Pluecker said "If women do not have the money to pay for needed health care services that would result in an abortion, should we force them to suffer the health consequences of poverty? As long as abortion is permitted in our country, we cannot argue that it should be available for some but not others. We cannot create a second class of women who cannot afford pregnancy services. There are many things that we pay for through our taxes that go against people's religious beliefs: war, capital punishment and prisons, to name a few. We have every right to voice our moral objections to these practices. In the end, we accept these policies that go against our moral fiber with the pledge to protest again another day."

McDonald said "I support equality in health care and believe the decision to have an abortion should be made between a woman and her doctor, not her health insurance provider. "

State Sen. Dana Dow, R-Waldoboro, voted against the legislation. He did not respond for a comment on his vote.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Michael S. Weatherwax | May 15, 2019 18:26

Maine appears to be a whole lot more compassionate than Alabama and Georgia.

Posted by: Mary A McKeever | May 15, 2019 15:11

Great step forward for women to choose her own path!

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