Maine Democrats move to enshrine abortion rights into state constitution

A party-line committee vote points to a partisan challenge for Democrats who want to amend the Maine Constitution to enshrine abortion as a right.

The Judiciary Committee voted 6-5 in favor of the proposal Thursday with all Democrats in support and all Republicans in opposition. Two committee members were absent.

NEW HAMPSHIRE HOUSE REJECTS FURTHER EXPANSION, OR RESTRICTION OF ABORTION ACCESS

Maine Democrats are seeking to join four other states that have amended their constitutions to protect the right to abortion since the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in 2022. Last year, a passionate debate unfolded over a new law that expanded access to abortions.

Maine State Capitol

The Maine State Capitol is photographed in Augusta, Maine. (eyecrave productions via Getty Images)

Democrats control both chambers of the Legislature but lack big-enough majorities to send the proposed amendment to voters unless they convince some Republicans to support the resolution.

The Maine Senate will now take up the proposal. At least two Republicans in the 35-member chamber would have to support amending the constitution for the measure to reach a needed two-thirds vote. The hill for Democrats is steeper in the 151-member House.

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The sponsor, Democratic Sen. Eloise Vitelli, was happy to see the proposal clear its first hurdle. “The best way to get politics out of abortion, and abortion out of politics, is to make sure our state constitution is clear: Reproductive autonomy is a human right. Maine voters deserve the right to weigh in on this,” she said in a statement.

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