© 2023 Maine Public | Registered 501(c)(3) EIN: 22-3171529
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

New Maine law creates 'medical safety zones' around health clinic entrances

A new law in Maine establishes an eight foot "medical safety zone" from the center of health facilities' entry ways.

Under the law, individuals are prohibited from intentionally blocking entrances and exits, harassing patients, and from making noise that prevents patients from hearing medical information once inside the health facility. Violators could face up to 6 months incarceration and a $1,000 fine.

The bill received support from abortion rights advocates during a public hearing in March. The sponsor, Democratic Representative Jay McCreight of Harpswell, said her proposal would support both patients' right to access health care as well as free speech.

Three other states, including Massachusetts, have established so-called 'bubble zones' that protect a person who is within a certain distance from a health clinic entrance.

Maine's law goes into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns.