Gov. Janet Mills has signed a bill to shield providers of legally protected abortion and gender-affirming care from hostile out-of-state litigation.

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Anne Perry, D-Calais, aims to protect health care providers from subpoenas or warrants, health record requests, extradition requests and other civil or criminal proceedings if they provide care – including abortion and gender-affirming care – that has been banned in a patient’s home state.

Gov. Janet Mills arrives to deliver her State of the State address in Augusta on Jan. 30. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer, file

“While some politicians relentlessly attack people who seek, and those who provide, reproductive and gender affirming care, the State of Maine is standing up to send the clear and unequivocal message that we will protect patients and medical providers from the hostile, discriminatory actions of out-of-state politicians trying to exact extreme agendas,” Mills said in a statement Tuesday.

The bill drew significant debate in the Legislature and prompted a letter from 16 Republican attorneys general in other states who joined together to oppose it, calling it “constitutionally defective.”

Republican lawmakers in Maine who opposed the bill focused their arguments on the impacts on some minors, including 16- and 17-year-olds who can receive abortions and gender-affirming care under certain circumstances. They argued that the bill would make the state a kidnapping and human trafficking safe haven.

Democrats, however, stressed that the bill would not change any existing laws or policies relating to abortion or gender-affirming care – and certainly wouldn’t prohibit law enforcement from investigating suspected state or federal crimes, including trafficking and kidnapping.


Attorney General Aaron Frey also pushed back on the concerns raised by attorneys general in other states, saying at the time the bill “simply protect(s) providers of legally protected reproductive and gender-affirming health care provided in Maine from interference or retaliation from states with different policies.”

Advocates for reproductive rights and transgender care issued statements Tuesday praising final approval of the law.

“Our state sends a clear message with L.D. 227: Maine remains a safe harbor for sexual and reproductive health care, for providers and the patients they serve,” said Lisa Margulies, vice president of public affairs for Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund. “Extremists opposed to safe, legal medical care will not stop their assault on our rights, but we will not be intimidated by their attacks.”

“As politicians in more and more states seek to take away our ability to make important, private medical decisions for ourselves and our families, we must do all we can to ensure vital, standard-of-care health care remains legal and accessible,” said Polly Crozier, director of family advocacy for GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders. “L.D. 227 will secure access to reproductive health care and essential health care for transgender people and will protect the dedicated practitioners who provide it in Maine.”

Since the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2022 ruling in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization upended the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision guaranteeing the nationwide right to abortion, several states have not only banned or restricted access to abortion but have sought to punish residents who leave their home states to receive abortions and the caregivers who provide them.

Twenty-one states have banned or limited abortion rights since Roe v. Wade was overturned. Twenty-two states have approved laws banning gender-affirming care, according to the Human Rights Campaign.

Maine joins 17 states and Washington, D.C., in passing laws shielding health care providers from legal action by states that have banned or restricted abortions. Eleven states and Washington, D.C., have enacted similar laws protecting providers of gender-affirming care.

The bill, L.D. 227, will protect Maine practitioners who are providing legally protected health care in this state from hostile litigation from out of state. Abortion is legal in Maine and lawmakers last year approved a bill to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to receive limited gender-affirming care, which does not include surgery, without parental consent if they meet specific requirements.

Practitioners providing care that deviates from the medical community’s commonly accepted standards of care, or who engage in criminal behavior, will not be protected under the bill.

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