Maine’s Republican-majority senate voted 21 to 14 against a targeted regulation of abortion provider (TRAP) bill on Friday, after the state’s Democratic-led house voted down the proposal last month.
LD 1312, introduced in April, would have required outpatient abortion clinics to be licensed by the state Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and reapply for its license on an annual basis. Abortion clinics in the state are currently subject to oversight by the state Board of Medicine.
The bill also would have subjected providers to operational standards for abortion clinics, which don’t exist in Maine and would have had to be developed as a result of the bill. Advocates said the proposal would have allowed the state HHS to unilaterally adopt unnecessary abortion restrictions that would force the closure of clinics in the state.
“The reality is putting this law into place would give the Department of Health and Human Services the opportunity to come in whenever they see fit and add additional regulations,” said Nicole Clegg of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England.
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The Virginia Board of Health enacted TRAP regulations in 2013, requiring clinics to conform to the architectural standards of hospitals. Three clinics have closed since the regulations were passed. TRAP laws in Texas, recently upheld by a district court, have forced more than three-quarters of the state’s clinics to shut down.
The state senate vote on LD 1312 last week effectively kills the bill, which was rejected by the Democratic-led house three weeks ago.