Maine’s abortion laws are more accommodating for women seeking abortions than those of many other states. NARAL Pro-Choice America gave Maine an “A” grade for its choice related laws such as requiring health insurance plans to cover contraceptive prescriptions and provides access to emergency contraception. On the other hand, Americans United for Life ranked Maine 31 out of all the states for not protecting parents’ rights to stop their girls from getting abortions.
Protection of Live Fetuses
In addition, Maine has laws to protect live fetuses. For example, if an abortion results in a live birth (i.e. breathing or having a beating heart after extraction from mother), the doctors must try to preserve the life and health of the baby. If they don’t they could be charged with a homicide crime or be civilly liable for wrongful death or medical malpractice. Also, the sale of live human fetuses is illegal in Maine.
Essentially, if a fetus was live born, then it can’t be used for experimentation. This may related to the use of embryonic stem cells in medical research and therapies to fix conditions like spinal cord injuries and heart disease.
Abortion Laws in Maine
The following table lists the basic provisions of Maine’s abortion laws.
|Code Section||Maine Code Revised Title 22, Chapter 263-B: Abortions|
|Statutory Definition of Abortion||An abortion is the intentional interruption of a pregnancy by the application of external agents, whether chemical or physical, or the ingestion of chemical agents with an intention other than to produce a live birth or to remove a dead fetus.|
|Legal Abortions||Before viability, an abortion performed by a physician is lawful. After viability, only abortions necessary to preserve life or health of mother are permitted.|
|Illegal Abortions||Abortions performed by non-physicians or post-viability other than to preserve life and health of the mother.|
|Penalty for Unlawful Abortion||The following actions are Class D crimes:
An unlicensed person performing an abortion is a Class C crime that can be sentenced to up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
|Informed Consent||All women, adult or teens, must provide informed written consent for the abortion. Informed consent requires the doctor to tell the patient in a non-misleading way, at least the following:
|Parental Consent||Both the girl who’s under 18 and one parent, guardian, or adult family member must give informed written consent for the abortion. However, in emergencies consent isn’t required. Also, a probate court judge can provide consent at the request of the pregnant minor.|
|Spousal Consent||The U.S. Supreme Court decided it was unconstitutional to require a woman to get her spouse’s consent for an abortion in 1992.|
|Residency Requirements||It’s been unconstitutional since 1973 to turn away women from other states for medical procedures, including abortion.|
|Physician Licensing Requirement||Only licenses medical or osteopathic physicians can perform abortions in Maine.|
|Medical Professional Refusal to Perform Abortion||A doctor, nurse, or hospital can refuse to perform abortions without being liable, lose their job, or be disciplined for that refusal.|
Note: State and federal laws change constantly, especially in a controversial area like abortion. Contact a knowledgeable attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify these abortion laws.
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