The Maine House has passed a bill that would allow physician assistants and advanced-practice registered nurses to perform abortions.
Nurse practitioner Julie Jenkins of Maine Family Planning in Belfast says the bill is an important step toward increasing access to the procedure, “particularly in a time where we're seeing access getting eroded and attacked."
Jenkins also says expanded access to the procedure is needed in a rural state like Maine.
"Women have to travel enormous distances to be able to go to a clinic in Bangor, Maine or Augusta or Portland, which are the places right now where people can get publicly accessible abortion services," she says.
The bill, which was sponsored by Democratic House leader Sara Gideon on behalf of Gov. Janet Mills, still faces votes in the Senate. If it is approved by the Senate, Maine would join eight other states and Washington, DC in authorizing advanced practice clinicians to provide abortions.