Maine Abortion Laws
Abortion is legal in Maine through viability. Thereafter, abortion is legal only to save the mother’s life.
In June 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, which returned to the states the power to regulate, even prohibit, abortion. Maine's law generally permits pre-viability abortions.
In fact, 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 providing access to emergency contraception.
Protection of Live Fetuses
In addition, Maine has laws to protect babies born alive during an abortion procedure. For example, if an abortion results in a live birth (i.e. breathing or having a beating heart after extraction from the 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.
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, a physician's assistant, or an advanced practice registered nurse is lawful. After viability, only abortions necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother are permitted.|
|Illegal Abortions||Abortions performed by people who aren't physicians, a physician's assistant, or an advanced practice registered nurse, 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.
|Informed Consent||All women, adults 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.|
|Physician Licensing Requirement||Only licensed 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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