The bill was introduced by Gov. Janet Mills and signed on Monday, allowing nurse practitioners, physician assistants and certified nurse-midwives to provide abortion medication as well as perform in-clinic abortions.
"These health care professionals are trained in family planning, counseling, and abortion procedures, the overwhelming majority of which are completed without complications", Mills added.
ME is making it easier to get an abortion with the governor's signing of her bill to allow nurse practitioners and other non-doctors to perform abortions.
Gov. Janet Mills delivers her State of the Budget address to the Legislature, Monday, Feb. 11, 2019, at the State House in Augusta, Maine. The CCL's executive director, Carroll Conley, said he is concerned whether non-physician practitioners can receive sufficient training to perform abortions by September, among other concerns.
Only physicians perform abortion in most states.
Supporters argued that existing law restricts access to abortion - particularly in rural areas of ME - by not allowing properly trained physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses to perform the medical procedure or prescribe drugs to terminate a pregnancy.
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Conley also disputed the idea that the law was responding to actual evidence that any residents of rural ME were unable to obtain abortions.
ME is on track to join California to become the second state with a law allowing non-doctors to perform abortions.
Almost two dozen states including Vermont and New Hampshire allow certain non-doctors to perform medication abortions following court and agency rulings. Abortions are already an extremely safe procedure: According to research, the risk of major complications on first-trimester terminations is less than 0.5%.
ME currently has three publicly accessed abortion centers in Augusta, Portland, and Bangor but supporters of this law hope that more will now open thanks to the new pool of employees able to perform the abortions.
"Maine is defending the rights of women and taking a step toward equalizing access to care as other states are seeking to undermine, rollback, or outright eliminate these services", the state governor said.
ME has faced lawsuits from advocacy groups and abortion clinics over its abortion provider restrictions, as well as its ban on state Medicaid funds for abortions.