Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union are suing Maine’s Department of Health and Human Services to reverse its ban on subsidizing abortion through the MaineCare health program for low-income residents.
The lawsuit contends that the ban violates the state Constitution’s guarantees of equal protection and the pursuit of safety and happiness.
ACLU of Maine legal director Zachary Heiden said that poor women having to pay for abortions out-of-pocket “might mean going without food, not paying bills, delaying medical care […] all of that is a bad idea for women.”
Similar lawsuits have successfully forced 13 states to subsidize abortions for Medicaid recipients, but have failed in eight.
The office of Maine Governor Paul LePage, a Republican, criticized the lawsuit as a “frivolous public relations stunt,” noting that because federal federal tax dollars are forbidden from directly subsidizing elective abortions, Planned Parenthood and the ACLU’s victory would force Maine taxpayers to fund abortion.