As one of the groups suing Maine in federal court over the state’s “physician-only” abortion law – indeed, one of our skilled nurse practitioners, Julie Jenkins of Belfast Family Planning, is the named plaintiff in Jenkins v. Almy – we would like to clear up some misconceptions perpetuated in recent coverage of L.D. 1763 (“Republicans decry timing of attorney general’s bill to expand abortion access,” Jan. 16).

The bill put forth by Rep. Joyce McCreight addresses the same concerns as our lawsuit: Namely, that Maine statute prohibits qualified medical professionals from delivering abortion care that the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, the American Public Health Association and the World Health Organization all agree is safe and well within their scope of practice, without medical justification.

This restriction serves as an unreasonable burden to women, making it more expensive, time-consuming and difficult to obtain a needed procedure. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2016 that state abortion restrictions like this, without any medical justification, violate the U.S. Constitution. Allowing advanced practice clinicians (referred to, confoundingly, as “non-doctors” in the Press Herald) to provide this care, as they currently do in more than a dozen other states, would increase meaningful abortion access in our large, rural state.

This is not a “far-left” issue, as avowedly anti-abortion legislator Ellie Espling is trying to assert – and news outlets should be careful not to echo such rhetoric. Recent polls have shown that the majority of the American public thinks abortion should be legal. L.D. 1763 and our lawsuit merely seek to make that broadly supported right truly accessible to all.

Leah Coplon

certified nurse-midwife