AUGUSTA (AP) – Five bills seeking to impose new restrictions on abortion, including one setting a 24-hour waiting period, were rejected Thursday by the Maine House.

By an 86-54 vote, representatives killed a bill that would have required that women and girls receive pamphlets outlining the risks of abortion and wait for 24 hours before they could undergo the procedure.

“This amendment does not remove choice,” said Rep. Lois Snowe-Mello, R-Poland, adding that 21 states have similar laws.

Rep. Ross Paradis Jr., D-Frenchville, sought to cast the proposal as a nonpartisan, common-sense approach, calling it “a sensible bill that will prevent unforeseen consequences” for many women who may regret their choices later.

“I don’t understand why this bill is so onerous,” said another supporter, Rep. Julie O’Brien, R-Augusta.

But Rep. William Norbert, House chairman of the Judiciary Committee whose majority opposed the bill, called the measure unnecessary.

Norbert, D-Portland, said this is the fifth time in the last 10 years the Legislature has been asked to impose waiting periods. Maine already has an informed consent law, which requires doctors to review medical risks with women seeking abortions, Norbert said.

The bill was rejected earlier in the day by the Senate and is dead for the session.

The other bills were rejected by the House but still faced Senate votes. But because of the lopsided House tallies, they appeared to be unlikely to win final approval.

The bills would:

-Order new licensing and inspection rules for abortion facilities (rejected 99-37);

-Make doctors who perform abortions on minors responsible for mental health costs related to the abortion if it was performed without parental or court consent (rejected 101-35);

– Revamp Maine’s abortion reporting law so it can include more information (rejected 94-41), and

– Eliminate criminal immunity for physicians who report data on an abortion (rejected 99-37).

AP-ES-05-22-03 1840EDT



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