Maine taxpayer funded abortion push revived in new proposal, from new angle

Rep. Joyce “Jay” McCreight (D-Harpswell) is the primary sponsor of the latest taxpayer funded abortion bill in the Maine Legislature. McCreight’s legislative biography claims she is a “long time advocate for children.” Photo courtesy Maine Legislative website.

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.

One 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

The bill, L.D. 820 is titled An Act To Prevent Discrimination in Public and Private Insurance Coverage for Pregnant Women in Maine” and has a list of about 80 co-sponsors, all Democrats or “Independent” lawmakers.

Bill Sponsors:

Sponsor Representative Joyce McCREIGHT of Harpswell
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

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