Maine expansion of abortion laws, which would be among the country’s broadest, passes committee

Published: Jun. 9, 2023 at 5:46 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A committee of the Maine Legislature signed off Friday on a proposal from Democratic Gov. Janet Mills that would give the state one of the least restrictive abortion laws in the country.

Maine’s current laws allow abortions until a fetus becomes viable, which is generally considered to be about 24 weeks. The governor’s proposal would change state law to allow abortion after fetal viability if it’s deemed necessary by a physician.

The Democrats control the state Legislature and its committees, and used that advantage to pass the bill through a judiciary committee. The measure could make it to the Maine House of Representatives as soon as next week.

The measure is likely to pass the full Maine Legislature, but has encountered heavy resistance from conservative lawmakers and residents, and Christian groups in the state.

The Maine Medical Association testified in support of the law change, and said in its testimony that “it is extremely unlikely that the bill as written will result in terminations of late pregnancies that are viable.”

The potential law change in Maine is playing out against a broader backdrop of efforts to expand or restriction abortion access in states around the country.