Planned Parenthood

Lawsuit challenges law that only doctors perform abortions

The American Civil Liberties Union and Planned Parenthood filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday that challenges a Maine restriction common across most of the U.S. that abortions be performed solely by physicians.

The two groups were joined by four nurses and abortion provider Maine Family Planning in challenging the law that prevents advanced practice registered nurses, such as nurse practitioners and nurse midwives, from performing the procedure.

Julie Jenkins, a Belfast nurse practitioner and a plaintiff, said the state's rule is "medically unjustified" and especially punitive in Maine's rural areas, where access to doctors who provide abortions can be scarce.