Bill to make MaineCare cover abortions headed for passage ..........
The Maine Senate voted Tuesday to require MaineCare and private health insurers to cover abortion services, likely clearing the way for final passage of the controversial measure.
The 19-16 vote came one week after the House voted 79-63 to pass a measure that supporters argue is necessary to ensure that women can access abortion care regardless of their income or insurer. While the bill faces additional procedural votes, Democratic Gov. Janet Mills is expected to sign the measure into law.
The bill, L.D. 820, would expand the circumstances under which the state Medicaid program, MaineCare, covers abortion services and also would require private insurers that provide coverage for maternity care to cover abortions. But opponents say the bill violates the religious or moral beliefs of abortion opponents by using taxpayer money to pay for the procedure.
Sen. Shenna Bellows, D-Manchester, was among several bill supporters who said decisions about pregnancies should be made by women and their doctors. Bellows said the bill is not about taxpayer funding for abortions but, instead, is aimed at ensuring insurance companies do not make political decisions or discriminate against women.
“This bill is simply about requiring our insurance companies to cover abortion just like any other medical procedure, to ensure that it remains safe, legal and available so that women and their families – in consultation with their doctors and their churches – can made their own decisions,” Bellows said.