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Legislature takes up abortion bills, but holds off on the most contentious proposal

Gov. Janet Mills speaks at a press conference Monday about her proposal to allow an abortion later in a pregnancy if a doctor deems it necessary.
Steve Mistler
/
Maine Public
Gov. Janet Mills speaks at a press conference Monday about her proposal to allow an abortion later in a pregnancy if a doctor deems it necessary.

The Maine House voted Tuesday night on roughly a dozen abortion bills. But the flurry of activity is a likely a precursor to debate about one of the most contentious abortion bills in years.

Most of the votes in the House fell along party lines, which was no surprise given the deep political divide over the issue. The Democratic-controlled House voted down Republican bills to require parental consent before minors can obtain abortion, to require ultrasounds before the procedure and to prohibit MaineCare coverage for abortions.

Meanwhile, Democrats passed bills to prohibit municipalities from passing local ordinances restricting access to abortion and to shield Maine health care professionals from repercussions if they provide abortions to women from states where the procedure is banned.

Lawmakers have yet to take up a bill from Gov. Janet Mills that would allow abortions later in a pregnancy whenever a doctor deems it to be medically necessary.

That bill appears to have enough support to pass but abortion opponents are maintaining a heavy presence in the State House ahead of a likely vote this week.