LD 227 Passes both the House and Senate and Awaits Governor’s Signature 

April 12, 2024

Augusta, Maine – After weeks of violent threats, disinformation, fear mongering and outright bullying from opposition, we are thrilled to see LD 227 pass in the House and Senate, and believe our Governor will sign this bill into law in due time. After a rocky ride for this and a similar bill through the legislature over the past year, this conclusion couldn’t come at a better time, as more than 40% of states across the country have either banned or attempted to block access to reproductive care, which includes abortions, as well as transgender healthcare for minors. The passing of this bill is due in large part to the strength of pro equality and pro reproductive choice elected officials and a combination of coalition partners who worked together for a common goal. 

Statements from members of Maine’s LGBTQ+ Legislative Coalition

The votes this week in both the Maine House and Senate in support of LD 227 show how committed the majority of our elected officials are to protecting Maine’s healthcare providers from hostile attacks from other states, and also illustrates how resilient they are in the face of mountains of disinformation as well as violent threats made against them during the legislative process. The Shield Bill will not only add a necessary layer of safety for providers who offer reproductive and transgender healthcare that is vital to the health and wellbeing of people and families in Maine; it also provides protections for patients who are seeking care. This bill is even more important in the unsettling world we live in today, as more than 40% of states across the country have either banned or attempted to block access to reproductive care, which includes abortions, as well as transgender healthcare for minors. Maine’s lawmakers have shown again that they are steadfast in their ability to withstand the pressures from a loud minority of voices, who unfortunately use ugly rhetoric to push their out-of-touch agenda, and stand up for our personal freedoms and bodily autonomy. EqualityMaine and our coalition of partners are strongly united in seeing this important bill over the finish line, and join a host of other states that also believe in protecting our rights to healthcare. 
Gia Drew (she/her/hers), Executive Director, EqualityMaine

The patterns of violence, threats, and extremism that accompanied the work around LD 227 point to why this bill was so essential. In order to protect the gains we’ve made in reproductive and gender-affirming health care, we must protect health care providers as well as our civil institutions and leaders who lead on these important issues. We’re grateful for the hard work of the bill sponsors, committee members, and those legislators and partner organizations who stood together to push back against these threats.
Destie Hohman Sprague (she/her/hers), Executive Director, Maine Women’s Lobby

While the hateful rhetoric and terrorist tactics leading up to the votes point to a worrisome trend in political discourse, we are heartened by the votes to pass LD 227. Maine healthcare providers can now be assured that it is safe for them to provide evidence-based, life-saving care without fear of criminalization by the overreaching hands of out-of-state politicians. Similarly, patients seeking care in Maine can now be assured that it is safe to access the healthcare they need. The majority of Maine lawmakers have demonstrated exceptional fortitude in the face of truly reprehensible behavior, and our state is better for it. The message is clear: Maine won’t let far-right extremism, outlandish misinformation, or even domestic terrorism stand in the way of ensuring all patients can safely access the best healthcare available here.
Bre Danvers-Kidman (they/them/theirs), Executive Director, MaineTransNet

EqualityMaine Statement Regarding LD 1735 – An Act to Safeguard Gender-Affirming Healthcare 

LD 1735 would have protected Maine healthcare providers and families seeking healthcare from hostile out-of-state laws and reflected Maine’s long-standing support for essential healthcare and equal rights for transgender people. 

January 30, 2024

Portland, Maine — The fear that many in the trans community feel is real, and we are disheartened that a bill that would safeguard transgender healthcare failed. There are some in the media incorrectly reporting that Democrats on the Judiciary Committee were bullied into killing that bill last week. This is not true. In a time of insecurity, where attacks on our community are increasing across the country, we need our allies and the media to be more careful in their reporting. And to be extra clear, gender-affirming healthcare in Maine is still protected by law. 

While the bill’s intention – to provide safety to folks looking for medically necessary care in Maine who come from other states, as well as their providers in Maine – is noble and necessary, the eventual demise of LD 1735 is emblematic of what happens when well-intentioned people try to do too much and with the wrong apparatus. From the outset, we were concerned that this bill might not be the best fit for Maine, but because of the rapidly changing landscape across the country, with more than 22 states banning gender-affirming healthcare for minors, many, including EqualityMaine, tried our best to make it work.

There were attempts to modify the bill prior to a public hearing last spring, then again this fall and winter after it was carried over from the first legislative session, all towards the goal of creating the core healthcare protections we need in Maine. As a work session became imminent over the past few weeks, it became clear that the bill would be vastly different from the one that had a public hearing last May.

So, out of respect for governance best practices, leadership in the Committee decided to vote “ought not to pass” on LD 1735, essentially killing the bill. In the lead-up to the vote and subsequently, there was an avalanche of hateful comments, mostly from conservative national media and their followers, who took hold of this story and manipulated it into a storm of disinformation about what gender-affirming care looks like. And while the barrage of attacks via email, phone calls, and social media was hurled at supportive Democrats on the Committee and the bill’s sponsor, we know their support of our community did not falter.

Sadly, many in the media and elsewhere want to lay blame for the fate of this bill on the Democrats on the Judiciary Committee. We categorically believe in our legislative champions and their commitment to the transgender community as well as to protecting access to healthcare that includes gender-affirming healthcare. Progress is often not linear, and we are committed to ongoing efforts to make Maine a safer and more welcoming place for people who need to access necessary healthcare.

This fight is not over – you can count on us.


Gia Drew (she/Her)
Executive Director, EqualityMaine