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Maine Senate Endorses Bill Requiring Medicaid To Cover Abortion Services

Rebecca Conley
Maine Public
The Maine Senate meets in December of 2018.

A bill requiring the state’s Medicaid program and private insurers to cover abortion services has cleared the Maine Senate. The vote broke mostly along party lines, with the Democratic majority voting to pass a bill that ends Maine's practice of blocking state Medicaid funds for abortion services.

Democrats argued that the current prohibition puts low-income Mainers at a disadvantage, leaving them with the prospect of having to pay for expensive abortion services out of their own pocket.

Republicans say the bill forces taxpayers to fund abortions even if they object to the practice.

The Hyde Amendment, passed more than 40 years ago, bars states from using federal funds to pay for an abortion, except for extreme instances such as rape or to save the mother’s life.

Thirty-five states, including Maine, have taken the prohibition further, prohibiting the use of state Medicaid funds.

The House voted last week to approve the bill, which requires additional votes before heading to Democratic Gov. Janet Mills.

Originally published May 14, 2019 at 1:14 p.m. ET.