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ACLU of Maine challenges MaineCare to pay for abortion services

The ACLU of Maine and three Maine abortion providers are challenging MaineCare's ban on paying for abortion services. (WGME)

AUGUSTA (WGME) -- The ACLU of Maine and three Maine abortion providers are challenging MaineCare's ban on paying for abortion services.

The ACLU of Maine argued against the Maine DHHS policy that refuses to pay for abortions for low-income pregnant women on MaineCare.

Zachary Heiden says the state's refusal to pay for abortion services is illegal, irrational, and coerces women to remain pregnant and not get an abortion, but Susan Hermon, arguing on behalf of DHHS, says the state is not restricting any rights.

"A woman's fundamental right to choose an abortion does not carry with it the right to a government-paid abortion," Hermon said.

There is no state law supporting that policy.

“The Legislature specifically considered whether to use state funds and decided not to," Hermon said.

But the Chief Justice says a non-decision is not the same as a law.

Susan Hermon and DHHS declined to comment afterwards, but her counterpart says the state uses this to apply pressure on women to keep their babies.

"The state here is discriminating between women who are pregnant and wish to continue with their pregnancy and women who are pregnant and want to terminate those pregnancies," Heiden said.

There was no decision Wednesday from the Maine Supreme Court. In fact, it could be several weeks.

Only six of the seven Supreme Court Justices heard today's argument, but the clerk says he's never once seen a tie.

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