Maine making public, private insurers cover abortions

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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — A bill requiring public and private insurance companies to cover abortion is now law in Maine with Democratic Gov. Janet Mills' signature Thursday.

The new law will take effect in 90 days and requires all insurers that cover prenatal care to include coverage of abortion. The proposal faced pushback from Republicans and a handful of Democrats who argued against taxpayer-funded abortions.

But the Democrats' advantage in the Legislature, won at the polls in November, provided the margin needed to pass the bill. The approval came after the state faced a lawsuit over its restrictions on abortion providers.

The bill's sponsor, Democratic Rep. Joyce McCreight of Harpswell, said it remedies the possibility of a person's income or insurance barring them from the care they seek. She said it ends "an unfair, arbitrary policy" and ensures "women can make their own health decisions along with the input of their health care provider."

It's the second bill passed recently by the Legislature to open up abortion access. Mills signed a bill Monday to allow medical professionals who are not doctors to perform the procedure.

Mill's signature of the insurance bill came a day after the Maine Legislature gave its final approvals of the proposal. The Maine Senate approved the bill Wednesday by a vote of 19-16. The House approved the bill 82-59.

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