A Maine law signed on June 10, 2019, will increase access to abortions by allowing healthcare professionals other than physicians, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, to perform the procedure, according to an article in the New York Times.1

Signed by Democratic Governor Janet Mills and sponsored by Speaker of the House Sara Gideon, the law will go into effect in September and will permit advanced-practice providers to administer abortions using oral medication or in-clinic aspiration procedures.

“Allowing qualified and licensed medical professionals to perform abortions will ensure that Maine women, especially those in rural areas, are able to access critical reproductive health care services when and where they need them from qualified providers they know and trust,” stated Governor Mills.2 “These health care professionals are trained in family planning, counseling, and abortion procedures, the overwhelming majority of which are completed without complications.”

Maine will join the list of additional states — including New Hampshire, Vermont, California, and New York — in permitting nurse practitioners and physician assistants to perform abortions. Twenty other states permit these clinicians to provide some level of abortion care.

Numerous other organizations, such as the World Health Organization and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, support the authorization of nurse practitioners and physician assistants to perform abortion services.

“This law will allow women to receive the care they need from a provider they trust and eliminate the financial and logistical hurdles they face today,” said Speaker Gideon.

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The executive director of the Christian Civic League of Maine, Carroll Conley, expressed concerns regarding whether these providers will be able to undergo the necessary training by September to administer these procedures and whether patients living in rural areas may be endangered if they experience medical complications during an abortion.

References

  1. Fortin J. Maine Abortion Law Lets Nurse Practitioners and Others Perform Procedure. New York Times. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/06/10/us/maine-abortion-bill.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share. Published June 10, 2019. Accessed June 12, 2019.
  2. State of Maine: Office of Governor Janet T. Mills. Governor Mills Signs Legislation to Increase Access to Critical Reproductive Health Care for Women. https://www.maine.gov/governor/mills/news/governor-mills-signs-legislation-increase-access-critical-reproductive-health-care-women-2019. Published June 10, 2019. Accessed June 12, 2019.