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Democratic Leaders In Maine Vow To Preserve Abortion Access If Federal Restrictions Imposed

Maine Democratic legislative leaders joined with Gov. Janet Mills and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in Augusta Tuesday to mark the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. Lawmakers reiterated their commitment to protecting access to abortions.

“In many ways it strikes me as odd that we’re still having this conversation. Still fighting to protect our right to quality, affordable health care, including reproductive health care,” says state Assistant Senate Majority Leader Eloise Vitelli.

House Speaker Sara Gideon says she'll work with lawmakers to ensure the state has a backstop against any federal actions that restrict access to abortions.

"We will make sure that the funding is here if it goes away from the federal level," Gideon said. "We will make sure that protections are here if they go away from the federal level."

The Trump administration has proposed several rule changes to abortion care, including a so-called “gag rule” that would prevent providers who receive federal money for reproductive health services from discussing abortions unless a patient specifically asks, and a requirement that providers erect physical and financial separation between federally-funded reproductive health services and abortion services.

Some Maine providers have said if approved, such a requirement could force some clinics to close.