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Maine Considers Allowing Non-Doctors to Perform Abortions

A pending federal lawsuit seeks to strike down a 40-year-old Maine law preventing non-doctors from performing abortions

Maine State House
NBC10 Boston/necn

Health care providers on both sides of the abortion debate have begun to weigh in on a Maine bill to allow nurse practitioners, physician assistants and certified nurse-midwives to perform abortions.

Supporters buoyed by Democratic wins in November said at a Wednesday hearing that the bill would expand rural women's access to care. Opponents said Democratic Gov. Janet Mills' bill lacks physician oversight over such mid-level providers.

Abortion rights research organization Guttmacher Institute says 34 states only allowed abortions by licensed physicians. States such as California, New Hampshire and Vermont allow certain non-physicians to perform abortions.

A pending federal lawsuit seeks to strike down a 40-year-old Maine law preventing non-doctors from performing abortions.

Mills says Maine's decades-old limitations lack medical justification and leave women with few options for in-clinic abortions.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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