Maine Supreme Court To Take Up State Medicaid Abortion Ban

May 15, 2018

The Maine Supreme Court will hear arguments Wednesday challenging the state Medicaid program's ban against covering abortions.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine has appealed a Maine Superior Court decision against the group's lawsuit filed on behalf of three abortion providers.

In a written decision, the Cumberland County Superior Court rejected the lawsuit because it says Maine's policy aligns with U.S. law, which prohibits using federal money except in extreme circumstances. But ACLU of Maine Legal Director Zach Heiden says Maine's policy of neutrality is very different than the federal government's.

"It is the public policy of the state of Maine not to restrict a woman's private decision of whether to terminate a pregnancy before viability. We hope that has an impact on the law court and the way that they review this case," he says. "We believe this regulation violates the rights of women in Maine and it has had a devastating effect. We're hoping that the law court will declare that it's legal and constitutional and permanently enjoin its enforcement."

The ACLU filed the lawsuit in 2015 on behalf of the Mabel Wadsworth Center, Maine Family Planning and Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.