AUGUSTA – Pro-life Mainers who celebrated the withdrawal of a bill in the Maine Legislature that would have required Maine taxpayers to fund abortions for Medicaid recipients won’t be pleased to hear that a new proposal to provide abortions at Maine taxpayer expense is moving forward.
The new proposal, L.D. 820, is sponsored by Rep. Joyce “Jay” McCreight (D – Harpswell), whose legislative profile says she is a “long time advocate for children.” McCreight’s bill is not as stridently titled or straightforward as the original taxpayer funded abortion bill sponsored by Rep. Lois Reckitt of South Portland.
Instead, L.D. 820 appears to try to frame a lack of taxpayer funded abortions in Maine as a discrimination issue, saying it is trying to ‘prevent discrimination in public and private insurance.’
Abortion has become a flashpoint in American politics in recent weeks, due to the passage of a late term abortion bill in New York that drew applause from lawmakers in that state.
Passage of the New York bill was followed by the now infamous radio interview in which Virginia Governor Ralph Northam said a proposed Virginia law would allow parents to basically choose to have an abortion after a baby had already been born. That bill was defeated shortly after Northam’s comments stirred widespread outrage.
President Trump made abortion a focus in his State of the Union address, saying, “Let us build a culture that cherishes human life,” and called for a ban on late-term abortions.
interesting facet of Rep. McCreight’s effort to frame Medicaid as an ‘insurance’
program in order to draw a comparison to private insurance is that liberal
lawmakers have traditionally opposed reforms that would have made Medicaid
actually function as an insurance program. Efforts to institute small premiums
and co-pays on Medicaid plans for able-bodied adults in the past have faced vigorous
opposition from Maine’s political left.
While the title of the bill suggests that the purpose is to provide women who are covered under Medicaid the same access to abortion as those with private insurance, the bill itself also adds language requiring all insurance carriers selling plans in Maine to cover abortions.
Because the Mills administration is moving forward quickly with Medicaid expansion, it is expected that as many as 70,000 more Mainers will be enrolled in Maine’s Medicaid program over the coming twelve to eighteen months. McCreight’s bill would make all recipients of Medicaid, both previously enrolled, and the new expansion population, eligible for abortion services at taxpayer expense.
There is no fiscal note on McCreight’s bill to estimate the cost of paying for abortions for Medicaid recipients, but no matching funds from the federal government can be used to fund the procedures.
The matching funds argument was one of the key arguments advocates for Medicaid expansion relied upon in pushing for expansion, arguing that the matching funds would “save” Maine money in the long run
Sponsor Representative Joyce McCREIGHT of Harpswell
Cosponsors Representative Kent ACKLEY of Monmouth Representative Christopher BABBIDGE of Kennebunk Representative Shawn BABINE of Scarborough Representative Donna BAILEY of Saco Representative Pinny BEEBE-CENTER of Rockland Senator Shenna BELLOWS of Kennebec Representative Seth BERRY of Bowdoinham Representative Lydia BLUME of York Senator Catherine BREEN of Cumberland Representative Michael BRENNAN of Portland Representative Heidi BROOKS of Lewiston Representative Christopher CAIAZZO of Scarborough Representative Barbara CARDONE of Bangor Representative Anne CARNEY of Cape Elizabeth Senator Everett CARSON of Cumberland Senator Justin CHENETTE of York Senator Benjamin CHIPMAN of Cumberland Representative Kristen CLOUTIER of Lewiston Representative Benjamin COLLINGS of Portland Representative Janice COOPER of Yarmouth Representative Scott CUDDY of Winterport Representative Matthea DAUGHTRY of Brunswick Representative Diane DENK of Kennebunk Representative Dale DENNO of Cumberland Senator Susan DESCHAMBAULT of York Senator James DILL of Penobscot Representative Janice DODGE of Belfast Representative Donna DOORE of Augusta Representative Victoria DOUDERA of Camden Representative Michelle DUNPHY of Old Town Representative Jeffrey EVANGELOS of Friendship Representative Ryan FECTEAU of Biddeford Representative Victoria FOLEY of Biddeford Representative Drew GATTINE of Westbrook Speaker Sara GIDEON of Freeport Representative Lori GRAMLICH of Old Orchard Beach Senator Geoffrey GRATWICK of Penobscot Representative Thom HARNETT of Gardiner Representative Allison HEPLER of Woolwich Representative Daniel HOBBS of Wells Representative Brian HUBBELL of Bar Harbor Representative Patricia HYMANSON of York Representative Erik JORGENSEN of Portland Representative Victoria KORNFIELD of Bangor Representative H. LANDRY of Farmington Senator Nathan LIBBY of Androscoggin Senator Louis LUCHINI of Hancock Representative Colleen MADIGAN of Waterville Representative Anne-Marie MASTRACCIO of Sanford Representative Ann MATLACK of St. George Representative David McCREA of Fort Fairfield Representative Genevieve McDONALD of Stonington Representative Andrew McLEAN of Gorham Representative Gina MELARAGNO of Auburn Representative Michele MEYER of Eliot Senator Rebecca MILLETT of Cumberland Senator David MIRAMANT of Knox Representative Matthew MOONEN of Portland Representative Margaret O’NEIL of Saco Representative Sarah PEBWORTH of Blue Hill Representative Ann PEOPLES of Westbrook Representative Anne PERRY of Calais Representative Teresa PIERCE of Falmouth Representative Lois RECKITT of South Portland Representative Tiffany ROBERTS-LOVELL of South Berwick Representative Deane RYKERSON of Kittery Senator Heather SANBORN, H. of Cumberland Senator Linda SANBORN, L. of Cumberland Representative John SCHNECK of Bangor Representative Braden SHARPE of Durham Representative Michael SYLVESTER of Portland Representative Rachel TALBOT ROSS of Portland Representative Denise TEPLER of Topsham Representative Maureen TERRY of Gorham Representative Ryan TIPPING of Orono Representative Ralph TUCKER of Brunswick Senator Eloise VITELLI of Sagadahoc Representative Charlotte WARREN of Hallowell Representative Stanley ZEIGLER of Montville