You can't help but stare at the photos of women's stomachs lining the walls at the Mabel Wadsworth Center in Bangor.

Martha, 34 -- 1 birth, 2 abortions.

Marian, 52 -- 1 illegal abortion, 1 birth, a second abortion.

Folks at the center are trying to put a "face" on women's fertility rights.

Stomach photo hanging on wall at Mabel Wadsworth Center in Bangor
Photo hanging on wall at Mabel Wadsworth Center in Bangor, Maine.
NCM

"We see people that come from as far north as Fort Kent and they might have to drive up to eight hours round trip," said the Center's Executive Director, Andrea Irwin. 

The bill Gov. Janet Mills introduced Thursday morning seeks to remedy this access issue for women across Maine but especially for rural Mainers.

It would allow physician assistants and nurse practitioners to perform medication-administered abortions. Under current law, they cannot perform abortions of any kind.

Current law makes the Mabel Wadsworth Center one of only three health centers in all of Maine where a woman can get an abortion.

"The ban is unconstitutional," said Irwin. "It's an outdated ban that really harms people's access to health care."

All of Maine's neighboring states already have similar laws in place -- part of nine states and Washington, D.C. in total.

"I don't think anybody is going to be shocked to hear that the Christian Civic League is opposing the expansion of abortion," said Christian Civic League of Maine's Executive Director Carroll Conley. "I love Governor Mills and she's my governor, but this is something that we strongly disagree on."

Conley is clear though, just because he's pro-life doesn't mean he's against health care.

"We feel that health care should be life affirming, not life ending," said Conley, speaking on behalf of the league.

Folks on both side of the abortion conversation are able to agree on one key part of the issue, though, and that's health care for all.

"We all want people to be able to get the health care they need in a safe way in their communities and this bill would do that," added Irwin.

Despite opposing this bill and all abortion, Conley and his group are sympathetic to the difficult decisions many women face, and the unexpected twists and turns on the road of life.

"We need to be compassionate," said Conley. "We need to understand that there are people that find themselves in incredibly challenging positions."

He just believes there are better options out there than abortion.

"We agree that it should be safe and, if it is going to be legal, then it should be rare," added Conley. "By increasing the opportunities then obviously you're going to increase the number of abortions that are provided, and we just believe there are much better options to the women who find themselves in those challenging positions."

As for the Governor's bill, it has been referred to the house committee on Health Coverage, Insurance, and Financial Services for review.