AUGUSTA — Lawmakers have narrowly rejected a bill that would have allowed the family of a fetus who dies before birth to sue for wrongful death.

The Sun Journal reported that the bill was rejected in a 72-71 vote in the House on Friday.

A mother and fetus would have a legal distinction under the bill. Mothers and health care providers who perform abortions could not be sued under the bill.

Supporters of the measure say that women who lose their unborn children should be able to sue for their loss.

Critics warn that the measure could lead to the concept of fetal personhood. which could restrict abortions. Opponents also say Maine already allows pregnant women to sue if they are harmed and lose a fetus.

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