Abortion Reporting: Maine (2019)

Tessa Longbons  

Maine’s 2019 abortion report was published in July 2020 by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. The report indicates that abortions increased from 2018 to 2019.


Changes in Maine Abortions, 2018-2019

The report does not include information on Planned Parenthood’s Maine abortion market share.


Abortion Totals and Trends


There were 2,021 abortions reported in Maine in 2019, up five percent from the 1,931 reported the previous year (Fig. 1). Meanwhile, chemical abortions jumped by 15 percent between 2018 and 2019, accounting for over half the abortions reported in Maine in 2019. The Charlotte Lozier Institute (CLI) estimates that Maine’s abortion rate increased by four percent from 8.3 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15-44 in the state in 2018 to 8.7 in 2019, yet still well below the national abortion rate of 13.5 (Fig. 2).


State Report Summary


The vast majority of the abortions reported in Maine in 2019 (94 percent) were performed on Maine residents. Five percent were on nonresidents, and one percent were on women whose residence was not reported. Ten percent of the abortions were performed on girls under the age of 20. Fifty-five percent were on women in their twenties, with 29 percent on women ages 20 to 24 and 26 percent on women ages 25 to 29. Thirty-one percent of Maine abortions were on women in their thirties, and three percent were on women age 40 or older.


White women underwent the majority of the abortions occurring in Maine, accounting for 85 percent of the total. Six percent of the abortions were on black women, two percent on Native American women, and four percent on women of other races, while three percent of the abortions were performed on women whose race was not reported. CLI estimates that Maine’s white abortion rate in 2019 was 7.9 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44, much lower than the black abortion rate of 20.9.


Eighty percent of Maine abortions were performed on unmarried women, 15 percent on married women, and five percent on women of unknown marital status. The majority of the women (65 percent) had no previous abortions, while 23 percent had one prior abortion, and 12 percent had two or more. Half the abortions were on women with no prior live births. Twenty-one percent were on women with one previous live birth and 29 percent on women with more than one. Just under a fifth of the women had previously suffered a miscarriage.


In 2019, chemical abortions made up 51 percent of the abortions reported in Maine, with over 1,000 chemical abortions occurring in the state. Forty-four percent of the abortions were performed using suction curettage, and five percent were dilation and evacuation procedures. Just four abortions were performed via sharp curettage.


More than two-thirds of the abortions were performed earlier than nine weeks of gestation. Seventeen percent were performed between nine and 10 weeks and seven percent between 11 and 12 weeks. Five percent occurred from 13 to 15 weeks, dropping to three percent from 16 to 19 weeks of gestation. Zero abortions were reported at 20 weeks of gestation or later.


Abortion Legislation in Maine


In 2019, Maine enacted two new laws to expand abortion in the state. Previously, only physicians were authorized to perform abortions, but under a new law, physician assistants and nurse practitioners may perform abortions as well. In the past, chemical abortion facilities have been more prevalent in Maine than surgical facilities, but the law may change that. Maine’s largest abortion chain, Maine Family Planning, facilitates chemical abortions at 18 centers across the state, with around a quarter of its abortions performed via telemedicine. In contrast, Maine Family Planning operates just one surgical abortion center. However, according to one estimate, surgical abortion facilities in Maine could increase from three to 18 as a result of the new law.


Additionally, Maine passed a law to require insurance plans that cover maternity care to pay for abortions. The law also requires Maine to use state funds to pay for abortions that are not covered under MaineCare, requiring the Department of Health and Human Services to adopt rules to that effect by March 2020.


State Ranking


In CLI’s survey of abortion reporting across the United States in 2016, Maine’s reporting tied for 36th best. In light of its new law requiring state funds and private insurance to cover abortion, Maine could consider reporting the payment methods used to fund abortion. Additionally, Maine could require the reporting of complications caused by abortion. Additionally, since the number of abortion facilities in Maine could increase, Maine could provide information on the facilities where abortions take place, as other states do.


  1. Rates were calculated by CLI using population estimates from the United States Census Bureau. The rates were calculated using the following formula: (total number of abortions performed in Maine ÷ number of resident women ages 15-44) x 1,000. Rates may differ slightly from previous CLI articles due to revised population estimates.


Click here to view reporting from:20182017


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