Maine Gov. Janet Mills addresses a large crowd on the steps of Portland City Hall on Friday, June 24, 2022, after the U.S. Supreme court overturned Roe v. Wade. Credit: Troy R. Bennett / BDN

AUGUSTA, Maine – Gov. Janet Mills signed an executive order on Tuesday to limit the reach of restrictive abortion laws in other states, boosting Maine’s liberal abortion laws in the aftermath of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that there is no federal right to an abortion.

The order, which follows similar efforts by governors in other states, prohibits state agencies from cooperating with another state’s investigation into a health care provider for delivering abortion care in Maine.

It also says the governor will make all legal attempts to decline extradition attempts from other states for charges related to abortion care, while directing state agencies to review laws and regulations on abortion in order to minimize barriers to accessing care.

Abortion remains legal in Maine after the Supreme Court overturned the landmark Roe v. Wade decision that had established abortion access as a constitutional right. A handful of states have already outlawed the procedure, with more set to make it illegal in the coming months.

Lawmakers in some conservative states have also mused how to limit women from seeking abortions elsewhere, although no state has such a law in effect at this time. Democratic-leaning states including Massachusetts and Connecticut have countered with steps to protect patients and providers receiving abortion services that are legal there but not in other states.

Mills worked to expand access to abortion after assuming office in 2019, signing bills to ensure state funds could cover the procedure for low-income women on MaineCare and allowing certain mid-level practitioners other than doctors to perform an abortion.

“A woman’s right to choose is just that — a woman’s, not a politician’s,” Mills said in a Tuesday statement.

She added that the order made it clear that her administration would protect access to reproductive health care. Maine Democrats have looked to draw contrast on the issue between Mills and former Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican challenging Mills this year, since the court’s decision.

LePage, who is anti-abortion, has said abortion is not a priority for him and declined last week to say how he would deal with restrictions if they reached his desk. A spokesperson for him did not immediately respond to a Tuesday inquiry on whether he would rescind Mills’ order if elected.

Polling has generally suggested that a solid majority of Mainers think abortion should be legal in most or all cases. But some Republicans have suggested they would at least target Mills’ recent efforts to expand access to the procedure here if they take power in Augusta next year.