LD 1261 is a Governor’s bill that would repeal a ban that prevents nurse practitioners from providing abortion services

AUGUSTA – A bill sponsored by Speaker Sara Gideon to end an outdated ban on abortion care was enacted by the Maine Senate today and is now headed to the Governor to be signed into law.. LD 1261, “An Act To Authorize Certain Health Care Professionals To Perform Abortions,”will allow advanced practice clinicians (Physicians Assistants, Nurse Midwives and Nurse Practitioners within certain scopes of practice and training) the ability to provide abortion services that are currently only performed by physicians in Maine today.

“If we increase the number of these providers in Maine, then we are making real gains towards equitable access to health care for all women who need an abortion,” said Speaker Gideon. “States across the country, including Vermont, New Hampshire, California, Montana and Oregon, have all eliminated physician only restrictions already. Doing so in Maine will allow women to receive the care they need from a provider they trust,  eliminate the financial and logistical hurdles they face today, and bring down both the health risk and financial cost.”

Every day in Maine, nurse practitioners perform many medical procedures more complex and complicated than abortion. In fact, nurse practitioners and other advanced practice clinicians have provided abortion care in New Hampshire and Vermont for decades.

Maine’s leading reproductive health and rights groups—Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Maine Family Planning, Mabel Wadsworth Health Center, and the ACLU of Maine—voiced have their support for  LD 1261.

Data, including from the CDC, shows abortion has a 99 percent safety record, meaning fewer than one percent of abortions have complications. Peer-reviewed medical literature, including a recent four-year study of more than 11,000 abortion patients published in the American Journal of Public Health, uniformly confirms that nurse practitioners can safely and effectively provide abortion care.

Many health organizations, including the nation’s leading women’s health care providers, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the World Health Organization, and the American Public Health Association, support allowing nurse practitioners to provide abortion services.