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Taxpayer funded abortion bill to have vote today in Maine House with Mills’ support

Left, Governor Janet Mills, and right, a majority of the members of the Legislature’s Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee support L.D. 820 which would provide Maine taxpayer funded abortions. The bill will have an initial vote in the Maine House today.

AUGUSTA – A controversial bill to provide taxpayer funded abortions in the state of Maine and force private insurance companies to also cover abortions is scheduled to have a vote in the Maine House Tuesday.

The bill, L.D. 820 is sponsored by Rep. Joyce “Jay” McCreight (D – Harpswell), whose legislative profile says she is a “long time advocate for children.”

The bill 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.’

But 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 adds the language requiring all insurance carriers selling plans in Maine to cover abortions in order to say that taxpayers must pay for the abortions of women without insurance.

Because the Mills administration is rapidly expanding Medicaid with an aggressive enrollment program, 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.

The federal government, under the Hyde Amendment, will not provide funding for abortion, so state taxpayers alone would be on the hook to pay for the cost of abortions for Medicaid recipients.

According to legislative documents, the bill comes out of the Health Coverage, Insurance and Financial Services Committee with a divided report but a recommendation that the bill “Ought to Pass.” The committee split on the bill, with Democrats supporting taxpayer funding of abortions while Republicans opposed.

L.D. 820 has about 80 cosponsors in addition to Rep. McCreight as the primary sponsor. All sponsors are Democrats or “Independents.”

A representative from Governor Janet Mills office testified in favor of the bill, and Speaker of the House Sara Gideon is a cosponsor of the bill.

An estimate by the Legislature puts the cost to Maine taxpayers at just under $1.4 million.

You can read the bill by clicking here.

View the list of bill sponsors by clicking here.

View the bill’s fiscal note (estimated cost) by clicking here.

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