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Maine expands abortion providers list to include non-doctors

Governor Janet Mills speaks during the Maine Real Estate and Development Association forecasting conference at the Holiday Inn by the Bay Thursday, January 17, 2019.
Gov. Janet Mills. Photo: Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Maine Gov. Janet Mills (D) signed a bill into law on Monday that makes it easier to get an abortion by allowing medical professionals who are not doctors to perform the procedure.

Why it matters: The move to allow physician assistants and nurse practitioners to perform abortions or prescribe pregnancy-ending drugs may increase access. It comes after more than 250 bills restricting abortion partially or completely have been filed in 41 states in 2019, according to Planned Parenthood.

QuoteMaine is defending the rights of women and taking a step towards equalizing access to care as other states are seeking to undermine, rollback, or outright eliminate these services."
— Gov. Janet Mills statement

The other side: Critics told AP they're concerned that people who aren't doctors lack the training to handle rare but serious complications from abortion procedures, such as hemorrhages.

What's next: The law is due to come into effect 90 days after the Legislature adjourns, expected in mid-June, according to AP.

The big picture: Another bill that would allow state funding for abortions for Medicaid recipients at an estimated cost of $375,000 a year is before the Maine legislature’s appropriations committee for funding consideration, per AP.

Go deeper: Where abortion restrictions stand: The states that have passed laws