December 05, 2019
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ACLU asks Maine high court to lift Medicaid abortion ban

Judy Harrison | BDN
Judy Harrison | BDN
In this February 2017 file photo, Ruth Lamden of Deer Isle (left) and Susan Riley of Orono hold up a banner for the Mabel Wadsworth Center outside Rep. Bruce Poliquin's office at a rally to support continued funding for Planned Parenthood.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine is appealing a court decision against its lawsuit that would require MaineCare to cover abortions.

Filed on behalf of three providers, the lawsuit challenges the legality of the state insurance program that restricts coverage for abortions.

“Maine has an established public policy in statute that says women get to make decisions for themselves about whether to continue a pregnancy,” said Zach Heiden, legal director for the ACLU.

In its written decision, the Cumberland County Superior Court said federal law takes precedence. Federal law prohibits the use of federal dollars to cover abortions except in extreme circumstances.

Heiden says MaineCare, the state version of Medicaid, which is partially funded with federal money, violates women’s rights by only covering abortions in those extreme circumstances.

“Even though it will cover almost all other pregnancy-related care. We think that’s discriminatory, and we think that’s against the law,” he said.

The ACLU is appealing the case to the state Supreme Judicial Court.

This report appears as part of a media partnership with Maine Public.


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