AUGUSTA (AP) — A civil liberties attorney told supreme court justices Wednesday that the state is “putting its thumb on the scale of a highly personal decision” by funding care for low-income pregnant women while refusing to pay if they elect to terminate their pregnancies.

But the state attorney general’s litigation chief told justices that there’s no obligation for taxpayers to fund abortions even though women have a right to the procedure.

“A woman’s fundamental right to choose an abortion does not carry with it the right to a government-paid abortion,” said Susan Herman, citing a previous federal decision.

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments in the appeal of a decision that upheld the state’s decision not to fund abortions through MaineCare, the state’s Medicaid program.

The American Civil Liberties of Maine sued the Maine Department of Health and Human Services on behalf of three abortion providers, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in Portland, Mabel Wadsworth Women’s Health Center In Bangor, and Maine Family Planning in Augusta.

Maine is among the majority of states that follow a federal guideline known as the “Hyde Amendment,” which provides Medicaid funding for abortions only in cases of rape, incest or danger to the mother’s life.

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