Gov. LePage’s mistake means 13,000 women will gain access to reproductive health care

Gov. LePage’s mistake means 13,000 women will gain access to reproductive health care

Maine Governor Paul LePage held another 51 bills past the deadline for a veto on Saturday night, allowing them to become law. They include LD 319, a measure to expand Medicaid eligibility for reproductive health care to 13,000 more Mainers while drawing down federal funding that will save the state around $3 million over the next three years.

LePage claims that he was forced to withhold the bills as the legislature has adjourned and that he still plans to veto them, but the legislature, the Revisor of Statues and every other legal and constitutional expert who has weighed in on the issue disagree. On Friday, Attorney General Janet Mills issued an opinion rejecting his constitutional position and declaring held legislation to be enacted.

“Thanks to the chief executive’s attempt to overturn the hard work of the legislature and his monumental misunderstanding of the veto process, much good legislation is now law,” said Representative Jay McCreight, a Democrat from Harpswell and sponsor of LD 319, shortly after the deadline had passed. “Low income women and men will now have access to reproductive health care and family services – a key to achieving economic stability – and saving Maine taxpayers millions!”

The legislation, which did not achieve a two-thirds majority vote in the House, was considered unlikely to survive a veto by the governor. Planned Parenthood Maine Action Fund celebrated on Facebook on Sunday morning, calling the turnaround in the fortunes of poor women seeking access to reproductive health care “inconceivable.”

Photo via Andi Parkinson.

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