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State Laws

Maine


Political Information

Executive (Governor)

Pro-choice

Senate

Pro-choice

House

Pro-choice

Abortion-Care Policies

Abortion Providers

Abortion Providers: Restrictions

Restrictions on Who May Provide Abortion Services

Maine prohibits certain qualified health-care professionals from providing abortion services.

Only a physician licensed by the state to practice medicine or osteopathy may provide abortion.  Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 22, § 1598(3)(A) (Enacted 1979; Last Amended 1993).  


Abortion Rights

Protections: Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA)

Maine has created additional protections for reproductive rights by adding an affirmative right to choose into its state law.  In 1979, Maine enacted a law stating that it is the public policy of the state that abortion after viability can only be provided if necessary to preserve the life or health of the woman and that abortion care may be provided only by a physician.  In 1993, Maine reaffirmed its public policy that a woman’s right to privacy must not be restricted except as described in the 1979 law.  John Hale, McKernan pushes bill to strengthen abortion rights, Bangor Daily News, Feb. 5, 1993.  This law ensures women’s access to pre-viability abortion services and would remain in effect even if Roe v. Wade were overturned.  

"It is the public policy of the State that the State not restrict a woman’s exercise of her private decision to terminate a pregnancy before viability except as provided in section 1597-A [Maine’s young women’s access law]."  Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 22, § 1598(1) (Enacted 1979; Last Amended 1993).


Post-Viability Ban

Maine’s post-viability abortion restriction states that no abortion may be provided after viability unless necessary to preserve the woman’s life or health.  Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 22, § 1598 (Enacted 1979; Last Amended 1993).

NARAL Pro-Choice America supports the legal framework established in Roe v. Wade and does not oppose restrictions on post-viability abortion, such as Maine’s, that contain adequate exceptions to protect the woman’s life and health.


Biased Counseling

No state measure.

Mandatory Delays

No state measure.

Insurance Coverage & Abortion

Supports Insurance Coverage of Contraception

Maine law requires health-insurance plans that cover prescription medication to provide equitable coverage for contraception.

What is required?  If a health-insurance plan provides coverage for prescription medication or outpatient medical services, it must provide coverage for all Food and Drug Administration-approved prescription contraceptives or outpatient contraceptive services.

To which insurance plans does the law apply?  Individual and group health-insurance policies issues or renewed on or after March 1, 2000, except for certain limited benefit policies, that provide coverage for prescription medication or outpatient medical services.

Does the law contain a refusal clause, allowing certain employers and/or insurers to refuse to provide or pay for contraceptive coverage?  Yes.

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?  No.  The law appropriately 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.  This definition is appropriately limited in scope, applying to religious entities but not broad-based entities that operate in the public sphere.

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


Improves Insurance Coverage of Contraception

Maine law requires health-insurance plans to cover dispensing of a 12-month supply of FDA-approved, self-administered contraceptives.

What is required?  Health-insurance plans must reimburse for dispensing or furnishing up to a 12-month supply of contraceptives.

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Tit. 24-A §2756, sub-§3; §2847-G, sub-§4; §4247, sub-§4 (Enacted 2017).


Improves Insurance Coverage of Contraception

What is required?  Maine law codifies the Affordable Care Act’s contraceptive-coverage policy by requiring that insurers cover without cost-sharing at least one prescription contraceptive drug, device, or product within each method identified by the Food and Drug Administration to prevent pregnancy. If a prescriber deems a certain contraceptive drug or device medically necessary for a patient, the insurer must cover it without cost-sharing.

To which insurance plans does the law apply? All individual, group, and blanket health-insurance and health-maintenance organization policies, contracts, and certificates executed, delivered, issued for delivery, continued or renewed in this State on or after January 1, 2019.

Does the law contain a refusal clause, allowing certain employers and/or insurers to refuse to provide or pay for contraceptive coverage? Yes.

To whom does the refusal clause apply? Religious employers (churches, associations and conventions of churches, and elementary and secondary schools principally controlled or supported by a church) that object to contraceptive coverage as part of its religious beliefs and practices.

What does the refusal clause allow?  A religious employer may require issuers of its health-insurance plans to exclude coverage for contraception.

Is this refusal clause overbroad, jeopardizing insurance coverage for contraception for women? Yes.  This refusal clause goes beyond houses of worship to include schools, where employees may not share the same religious beliefs and practices as their employers.

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 exclusions to prospective and current employees.

Are there circumstances under which a refusal clause may not be exercised?  Yes. A refusal clause may not be used to exclude coverage for prescription contraception ordered for reasons that are necessary to preserve the life or health of a covered person.

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

Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law? No.

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. Tit. 24-A §2756, sub-§3; §2847-G, sub-§4; §4247, sub-§4 (Enacted 2017).


Improves Insurance Coverage of Contraception

Maine prohibits most insurers from imposing any cost-sharing on at least one product in each FDA-approved contraceptive method. Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 24, § 2332-J (Enacted 1999); Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 24-A, §§ 2756, 2847-G, 4247 (Enacted 1999).


Low-Income Women & Abortion

Restricts Low-Income Women’s Access to Abortion

Maine prohibits public funding for abortion for women eligible for state medical assistance for general health care unless, as certified by a physician, the procedure is necessary to preserve the woman’s life or the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest.  Me. Dep’t of Health & Human Servs., MaineCare Benefits Manual, Ch. II, § 90.05-2(A) (Rev. Aug. 9, 2010) at http://www.maine.gov/sos/cec/rules/10/144/ch101/c2s090.doc. In November 2015, on behalf of three Maine healthcare providers, the ACLU of Maine, the national ACLU and Planned Parenthood Federation of America challenged this policy. The case argues that this abortion coverage prohibition violates the Maine Constitution and state statute. In October 2017, the case was appealed to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court after a state Superior Court upheld the policy — a decision is pending in this case.


Young Women & Abortion

Parental Consent

Maine law restricts young women’s access to abortion.

Is the law enforceable?  Yes.

Who is considered a minor?  A young woman under the age of 18.

What is required – parental consent or parental notice?  Consent.

Who must provide consent?  One parent.

Are there other trusted adults who may provide consent instead?  Yes, an adult family member.

What is the process for obtaining consent?  A young woman may not obtain an abortion unless the attending physician secures the written consent of one parent, unless the physician determines that the woman is mentally and physically competent to give "informed" written consent.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of rape or incest?  No.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of child abuse?  No.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman’s health is threatened?  Yes.  A physician may provide an abortion without the young woman’s parent’s consent if the physician obtains written consent from the minor, and the physician determines that "the minor, under all the surrounding circumstances, is mentally and physically competent to give consent."

May the parental mandate be waived under any other circumstances?  Yes, the young woman may try to obtain permission from a judge.

If a young woman must obtain permission from a judge, what is the process?  She must secure a court order either granting her majority rights for the sole purpose of consenting to an abortion or stating that an abortion is in her best interests.

Are there other significant requirements under the law?  Yes.  A young woman may not obtain an abortion without receiving counseling from a physician, psychiatrist, psychologist, nurse, physician’s assistant, clergy member, or qualified counselor.  Counseling must include:  (1) the alternative choices for managing the pregnancy; (2) information on prenatal care, alternatives to abortion, and agencies providing assistance; and (3) the possibility of involving her parents or other adult family members.  The attending physician also must inform the minor of:  (1) the number of weeks of the pregnancy’s duration; and (2) the risks of pregnancy and the proposed abortion procedure.

Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law?  No.

Other information about the law:  None

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 22, § 1597-A (Enacted 1989; Last Amended 2003).


Family-Planning Policies

Insurance Coverage & Contraception

No state measure.

Low-Income Women & Contraception

Supports Low-Income Women’s Access to Contraception

Maine provides increased access to reproductive-health-care services through a State Plan Amendment (SPA) to its Medicaid program. The SPA allows the state to cover family-planning services for women and men with incomes at or below 214 percent of the federal poverty level who do not qualify for any other category of Medicaid. Additionally, enrollees must be (1) U.S. citizens or persons who meet the state’s defined immigration requirements and (2) Maine residents.

Beneficiaries of family-planning coverage available through the SPA are not required to pay premiums or co-payments for covered services. Covered services include: all FDA-approved birth-control methods, devices and supplies as well as prescription over-the-counter contraceptives; a comprehensive patient history, contraceptive counseling, breast and pelvic exams, pap smears, and laboratory tests; treatment of major complications related to family planning services; prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted infections; HIV testing and counseling; male and female sterilization; reproductive-health education and counseling.

Maine State Plan Amendment, ME-15-026, at https://www.medicaid.gov/State-resource-center/Medicaid-State-Plan-Amendments/Downloads/ME/ME-15-026.pdf; Maine State Plan Amendment, ME-16-017, at https://www.medicaid.gov/State-resource-center/Medicaid-State-Plan-Amendments/Downloads/ME/ME-16-017.pdf; Clarification of Family Planning Coverage, at https://www.medicaid.gov/State-resource-center/Medicaid-State-Plan-Amendments/Downloads/ME/ME-15-025.pdf.


Emergency Contraception

No state measure.

Other Important Issues

Clinic Protections

Clinic Protections

A person shall not intentionally:  (1) engage in the physical obstruction of a building; (2) make or cause repeated telephone calls to a person or a building with the intent to impede access to a person’s or building’s telephone lines or otherwise disrupt a person’s or building’s activities; (3) activate a device or expose a substance that releases noxious and offensive odors within a building; or (4) after having been ordered by a law-enforcement officer to cease such noise, intentionally make noise that can be heard within a building and with the further intent either:  (a) to jeopardize the health of persons receiving health services within the building; or (b) to interfere with the safe and effective delivery of those services within the building.  Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 5, § 4684 (Enacted 1991); Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 5, § 4684-A (Enacted 1993); Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 5, § 4684-B (Enacted 1995).


Fake Health Centers

No state measure.

Refusals & Guarantees

Refusals of Medical Care

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?  Allows private institutions, physicians, agents, or employees of such institution to refuse 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 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?  Allows hospitals and individuals to refuse 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).


Guarantees Access to Prescriptions

Maine law guarantees that women’s birth-control prescriptions will be filled.  Maine law and pharmacy regulations specify that a pharmacist may refuse to fill a prescription or dispense a medication only under certain circumstances.  Permissible reasons for refusal include questions concerning 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.

Me. Rev. Stat. Ann. tit. 32, § 13795 (Enacted 1995; Last Amended 2005); 02-392-19 Me. Code. R. § 11.


Counseling & Referral Bans

No state measure.

Everyone should be able to decide if, when, how, and with whom they start or grow a family.

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