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Maine

Refusal to Provide Medical Services

ABORTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

Maine allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide abortion services.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Physicians, nurses, or other persons, or hospital or health-care facilities.

What does the refusal clause allow?  The refusal of a physician, nurse, or other person to perform or assist in abortion care may not be a basis for civil liability, discrimination in employment or education, or other recriminatory action.  The refusal of a hospital or health-care facility to permit abortion services on its premises may not be a basis for civil liability or other recriminatory action.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected?  No.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  No.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to provide medically and factually accurate information or provide a referral for abortion services?  No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to otherwise obtain specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals if an individual and/or entity exercises a refusal clause?  No.

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 22, §§ 1591, 1592 (Enacted 1973; Renumbered 1978; Last Amended 1978).

FAMILY-PLANNING REFUSAL CLAUSE

Maine allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to provide family-planning services.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Private institutions, physicians, or agents or employees of such institutions or physicians.

What does the refusal clause allow?  No private institution or physician or agent or employee of such institution or physician shall be prohibited from refusing to provide family-planning services when such refusal is based on religious or conscientious objection.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected?  No.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  No.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to provide medically and factually accurate information or provide a referral for family planning services?  No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to otherwise obtain specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals if an individual and/or entity exercises a refusal clause?  No.

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 22, § 1903 (Enacted 1973; Last Amended 1981).

HEALTH-CARE PROVIDER AND HEALTH-CARE INSTITUTION REFUSAL CLAUSES

Maine allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to comply with individual health-care instructions or decisions based on conscience.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Health-care providers and health-care institutions.

What does the refusal clause allow?  A health-care provider may refuse to comply with an individual health-care instruction or decision for reasons of conscience.  A health-care institution may refuse to comply with an individual health-care instruction or health-care decision if the instruction or decision is contrary to a policy of the institution that is expressly based on reasons of conscience.

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected?  Yes.  A health-care provider or health-care institution that refuses to comply with an individual health-care instruction or health-care decision must promptly inform the patient.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  No.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to provide medically and factually accurate information or provide a referral for the requested health services?  No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to otherwise obtain specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals if an individual and/or entity exercises a refusal clause?  Yes.  A health-care provider or health-care institution that refuses to comply with an individual health-care instruction or health-care decision must (1) inform the patient promptly; (2) make all reasonable efforts to assist in the transfer of the patient to another health-care provider or institution that is willing to comply with the instruction or decision; and (3) provide continuing care to the patent until the transfer is accomplished or until it appears that a transfer cannot be accomplished.

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 18-A, § 5-807 (Enacted 1995).

INSURANCE COVERAGE FOR CONTRACEPTION REFUSAL CLAUSE

Although Maine law requires health-insurance plans that cover prescription medication to provide equitable coverage for contraception, certain employers and/or insurers may require that their plans exclude coverage for contraception.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Religious employers for whom contraceptive coverage conflicts with their bona fide religious beliefs and practices.

What does the refusal clause allow?  A religious employer may require that an insurer exclude coverage for contraception.

Is this refusal clause overbroad, jeopardizing insurance coverage for contraception for women?  Yes.  The law defines the term "religious employer" as a tax-exempt church or association of churches or an elementary or secondary school controlled, operated, or principally supported by a church or an association of churches. 

Does the law require the refusing entity to notify the persons affected?  Yes.  An employer exercising a refusal clause must provide written notice of the exclusion to insureds and prospective insureds.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  Yes.  A refusal clause may not be used to exclude coverage for contraceptives prescribed for reasons other than contraceptive purposes, or for prescription contraception necessary to preserve the life or health of the insured.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to obtain contraceptive coverage if their employer exercises a refusal clause?  No.

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 24, § 2332-J (Enacted 1999; Last Amended); Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 24-A, §§ 2756 (Enacted 1999), 2847-G, 4247 (Enacted 1999; Last Amended 2003).

PHARMACIST REFUSAL CLAUSE

Maine allows pharmacists to refuse to fill or refill prescriptions.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Pharmacists.

What does the refusal clause allow?  Pharmacists or persons acting at the direction of pharmacists may refuse to fill or refill any prescription if unsatisfied about the legitimacy or appropriateness of any prescription presented, the validity of photographic identification, or the identity of any patient presenting a prescription or any person acting on behalf of the patient.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to notify the persons affected?  No.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  No.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to provide medically and factually accurate information or provide a referral for prescription services?  No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to otherwise obtain specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals if an individual and/or entity exercises a refusal clause?  No.

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 32, § 13795 (Enacted 1995; Last Amended 2005).

STERILIZATION REFUSAL CLAUSE

Maine allows certain individuals or entities to refuse to perform or participate in sterilizing procedures.

To whom does the refusal clause apply?  Individuals and hospitals.

What does the refusal clause allow?  No hospital or individual is required to perform or participate in medical procedures that result in sterilization.  The refusal of a hospital or person may not be a basis for civil or criminal liability.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to notify the persons affected?  No.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  No.

Does the law require the refusing individual or entity to provide medically and factually accurate information or provide a referral for sterilizing procedures?  No.

Does the law provide a mechanism for women to otherwise obtain specific reproductive-health services, information, or referrals if an individual and/or entity exercises a refusal clause?  No.

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 34-B, § 7016 (Enacted 1983).


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