The Maine House and Senate voted today to kill LD 31, which would have required parental consent for all prescription medications, inlcuding medications to treat sexually transmitted infections and for contraception.  If passed, it would have made Maine the most restrictive state in the country with regards to minors’ health privacy and likely would have had a dramatically negative impact on Maine's currently low teen teen pregnancy and abortion rates. Currently, every state in the nation allows minors to consent on their own to STD treatment, and no state requires parental consent for contraception.

Fortunately, Maine lawmakers recognized, through today's votes, that government can't mandate healthy parent/child communication where it does not already exist.  Not all children feel safe or comfortable talking to their parents about these sensitive issues, and for those Maine kids, we are thrilled that it appears as though they will retain a right to receive safe, confidential access to healthcare when he/she is at risk.  

And in the Senate, lawmkers opposed LD 1463 by a vote of 18 to 15.  LD 1463 would create new, vague, non-scientific defintion of an "unborn child" which would set the stage for fetal personhood and overturning of Roe v. Wade.  Similar laws in other states have been used to jail and prosecute women for engaging in a wide range of lawful and unlawful behaviors perceived as placing their fetus at risk.  Again - a solution in search of a problem.  Maine already has laws to protect pregnant women from violence - including a law prohibiting Elevated Aggravated Assault on a Pregnant Person - a Class  A crime that carries thirty years in prison.  The House will take the bill up tomorrow. 

Also on tomorrow's agenda?  
  • LD 116 - which would require adult women to wait at least 24 hours from signing a consent form before getting an abortion.
  • LD 924 - which includes a 24-hour waiting period in addition to requiring doctors read a state-written scripted brochure describing the risks of abortion; and  
  • LD 1457, which would require written, notarized parental consent before an abortion could be performed on a minor.   
Check out this Bangor Daily News editorial opposing these bills and contact your legislator to tell them to leave Maine's reproductive rights laws alone!