The American Civil Liberties Union of Maine is now suing their state for denying taxpayer-funded abortions for women. MaineCare, the government healthcare program, has been following the rules laid out by the Hyde Amendment. MaineCare will only fund abortions in an extreme medical emergency.
ACLU of Maine is representing Planned Parenthood of Northern England, Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center, and Maine Family Planning, all abortion providers in Maine. They are appealing to a lower court’s decision ruling in favor of the law.
The current policy for Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services bans funding to abortion through their coverage. While women can get an abortion in the state of Maine, they cannot request it to be paid for by the state government.
ACLU of Maine’s legal director Zachary Heiden said, “when somebody has the constitutional right to exercise one of two decisions, and those are the only two decisions available, putting a thumb on the scale is an interference with that right and is a restriction on that right. So, this is plain discrimination under Maine Equal Protection Clause.”
In simpler terms, Heiden says since someone has a decision with two options available, the government cannot get involved without discriminating their basic freedoms in Maine’s Constitution. In one sentence, he means the government cannot interfere with a woman’s right to an abortion.
State Attorney General’s litigation chief Susan Herman said to the judges, “a woman’s fundamental right to choose an abortion does not carry with it the right to a government-paid abortion.” She defends Maine’s current law and restrictions made by the Hyde Amendment which bans government money from funding an abortion.
The Maine Supreme Court’s decision on this case is unknown as of publication.