“Anti-Choice” Bills Spark Debate At State House
A group of women, including pro-choice advocates and lawmakers, spoke out in Augusta Thursday against bills they call anti-choice measures.The sponsor of one of those bills is upset, saying her bill has nothing to do with abortion rights.Public hearings on the three bills are still weeks away, but they’re already generating controversy. “These bills send the wrong message to women across Maine and we must, yet again, as we have in the past, defeat them,” said Senator Emily Cain, an Orono Democrat.Cain was among several lawmakers who spoke out in opposition to the bills calling them an assault on women’s rights.One bill would require physicians to inform women about things like approximate age of a fetus and abortion techniques as well as alternatives to abortion before performing one.A second bill would mandate that minors provide written proof of parental consent prior to having an abortion. “The women here and the women of Maine will not allow these attacks to succeed,” said Biddeford Democrat Megan Rochelo.A third bill would allow a wrongful death cause of action for the death of an unborn child. Organizers of the press conference say it would allow wrongful death lawsuits against abortion providers.A closer look at the bill shows language specifically exempting a physician who performs a legal abortion from a civil suit. The bill’s sponsor, Scarborough Republican Amy Volk, calls the allegations untrue and disingenuous. “I believe Roe v. Wade is the law of the land. This doesn’t do anything to challenge that in any way.”Volk says her bill has nothing to do with restricting abortion rights. “What we’re saying is that in the event of an accident or an assault where an unborn child, 12 weeks or more gestation, is deceased, the family has a right to sue civilly for some sort of compensation for the loss of that child.”Public hearings on all three bills are scheduled for May 16 in the Joint Standing Committee on Judiciary.