Gov. Janet Mills today, July 19, signed into law legislation allowing licensed doctors to approve abortions after a fetus becomes viable outside the womb, or at about 24 weeks.

From Maine.gov:

Governor Janet Mills today signed into law legislation that puts the decision about whether to have an abortion later in pregnancy in the hands of women and their doctors – not politicians or lawyers, ensuring that patients can get care they need, when they need it.

The bill, An Act to Improve Maine’s Reproductive Privacy Laws, was supported by a broad coalition of religious leaders, medical professionals, reproductive health care experts, and others.

It was inspired by the story of Yarmouth resident Dana Peirce, who had to seek an abortion out-of-state after she discovered her child was suffering from a deadly form of skeletal dysplasia, a random, rare genetic mutation. Maine’s abortion laws prevented her from accessing care here in Maine. This bill seeks to ensure that no Maine person has to endure the same physical, emotional, psychological, and financial burden that Peirce did in order to receive medical care.

The legislation also eliminates language in current law that subjects medical providers who perform abortions to criminal penalties under certain circumstances, instead regulating abortion like other safe, legal medical procedures. It also updates antiquated data collection policies related to abortion care to reduce stigma, protect patient privacy, and protect reproductive health care providers.

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