In 1973, the U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion in all 50 states, saying that the individual rights described in the Constitution were “broad enough to encompass a woman’s decision whether or not to terminate her pregnancy.”

Almost a half-century later, those rights have never been more threatened.

Anti-abortion activists have succeeded in packing the Supreme Court with justices who claim, before they are confirmed, to be bound by precedent but send signals that the landmark Roe v. Wade decision is far from “settled law.”

The latest sign comes with the news that the court will take up the case of a Mississippi law that directly attacks Roe v. Wade and could send abortion regulation back to the states. What that could look like in Maine will be on display Tuesday, where the Legislature’s Judiciary Committee will hear testimony on a series of abortion restrictions.

None of the bills directly challenges Roe, but all would make it more difficult, expensive and possibly dangerous to terminate a pregnancy, putting abortion out of reach for some women.

The bills include L.D. 1225, which would require families to bury or cremate the remains after an abortion, a miscarriage or fetal death – regardless of its gestational age.

Although it’s called “An Act to Provide Dignity for Fetal Remains,” it’s equally likely to strip dignity from pregnant women, shaming them if they choose abortion. And it is cruel to women who miscarry, adding to their grief and disappointment.

The committee will also hear L.D. 825 and L.D. 851, which would require that providers tell patients that a medication abortion can be reversed between taking two drugs, typically administered 48 hours apart.

The problem is that no evidence exists that this is true. The only scientific test of the theory was canceled for safety reasons because it caused severe hemorrhaging.

Tennessee passed a similar bill last year, but it has been blocked from taking effect by a federal judge who found that the message was “likely to mislead patients.”

We would never let this kind of uninformed meddling by lawmakers intrude into any other aspect of the relationship between a health care provider and a patient. But when it comes to abortion, opponents think they know better than women and their doctors.

These bills should be viewed in the context of the upcoming Supreme Court case, which could again allow states to make abortion a crime. Maine law should continue to respect a woman’s right to make decisions about her own body and what’s best for her family.

Related Headlines


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.