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It’s time to update Maine’s Reproductive Privacy Act. While the original act provided a much-needed foundation, the law relies on the concept of viability, an ambiguous and unscientific notion. By imposing gestational limits, the state of Maine has divided pregnant people into categories: Those who are worthy of reproductive autonomy and those who are not. A person does not lose their humanity when they pass a certain gestational stage, and we must ensure that all Mainers are afforded the same respect and dignity, regardless of their pregnancy status.
This is doubly important because, outside of pregnancy, bodily autonomy is held sacred by our legal system. For example, one person cannot be compelled to donate bone marrow to another, even if the second person will die without the transplant. Bone marrow donation is invasive, but pregnancy is more invasive. Yet a person who is further along in their pregnancy must continue to endure all of the physical and emotional burdens unless they can travel to one of the few out-of-state clinics that perform late abortions.
Gov. Janet Mills’ proposal aligns Maine’s reproductive health care laws with legal precedent around other health care procedures. It helps ensure that pregnant people are afforded the same rights to autonomy and self-determination as everyone else. It places the decision making where it belongs, in the hands of the pregnant person, with guidance from their medical team.
This is why I support LD 1619, An Act to Improve Maine’s Reproductive Privacy Act, and I hope others will as well.