Planned Parenthood of Northern New England along with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging a provision of a Maine law that says abortions can only be performed by physicians.
The ACLU claims that the law “significantly restricts patient access to abortion services in Maine, and prevents some Maine women from receiving an abortion from their regular primary and gynecological care provider,” and “blocks qualified nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives (also known as advanced practice registered nurses, or APRNs) from doing so, despite their rigorous post-graduate training and extensive clinical experience.”
“Today, while medication abortion is available via telemedicine in some cases, there are only three publicly accessible health centers in Maine where a woman can get an in-clinic abortion,” they add. “If this medically unjustified restriction is blocked, that number will increase to at least 18 locations across this large, rural state.”
The lawsuit says that only allowing physicians to perform abortions “imposes severe burdens on women seeking abortions, violates federal constitutional guarantees of privacy and equal protection.”
Laws requiring that abortions be provided only by medical doctors are currently on the books in 41 states, but Planned Parenthood is hoping to change that.
“All of us want women to have access to safe medical care,” Dr. Raegan McDonald-Moseley, chief medical officer of Planned Parenthood commented Wednesday. “Medical experts oppose outdated restrictions like this one because they don't help keep women safe, and aren't grounded in thorough research or the best science. We are in court on behalf of our patients, because everyone deserves the right to access safe, legal abortion.”
“We are against violence inside and outside the womb,” McCann-Tumidajski, executive director of Maine Right to Life, commented. “We don’t want to open up new avenues of access to abortion.”