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Maine Sheriffs’ Association Announced That It Opposes “Shield Law” Bill

“They clearly demonstrate that law enforcement is NEVER on the side of LGBTQ+ people,” Allison Chapman said.

Officers with the Somerset County Sheriffs gather outside the courthouse at the Cumberland County Courthouse in Portland, Maine, on September 12, 2019.

The Maine Sheriffs’ Association has come out in opposition to LD227, a shield law that would protect health care providers offering gender-affirming and abortion care to patients from states where such health care is prohibited.

LD227 would designate Maine as the 18th state, according to Maine’s Attorney General Aaron Frey, to implement a shield law. Additionally, according to transgender activist and journalist Erin Reed, the bill would “ban healthcare providers, practitioners, facilities, and similar institutions from disclosing protected healthcare information about their patients to out-of-state investigators.”

Mary-Anne LaMarre, executive director of the Maine Sheriffs’ Association, said in a letter to the Joint Standing Committee on Health Coverage, Insurance, and Financial Services on March 21 that law enforcement collectively opposes the bill.

“Maine Sheriffs have announced they are opposing LD227, which would shield abortion and trans healthcare from out of state prosecution and would protect Maine health records,” Reed said on social media. “Why is a police org supporting Texas demanding medical records of trans and abortion patients in Maine?”

LD227 recently passed out of committee, despite the legislature facing bomb threats after legislators were targeted by the anti-LGBTQ activist Chaya Raichik, who runs the far right account Libs of TikTok, and anti-transgender activist Riley Gaines, who recently was among a dozen college athletes who sued the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) over its trans-inclusive policies.

“Riley Gaines in recent months has successfully inspired threats of violence against state legislators in Maine which resulted in the dropping of a bill similar to LD227,” LGBTQ legislative researcher Allison Chapman told Truthout. “Riley and others attempt to use stochastic terrorism to force their opinions into law via sheer terror. In the United States, we do not negotiate with terrorists and that should apply to domestic stochastic terrorism as well.”

In the absence of protective shield laws, states may conduct criminal investigations into trans people seeking gender-affirming care outside of their state. For example, in November of 2023, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton sought confidential information concerning transgender patients from Texas who had received gender-affirming care at clinics located in Georgia and Seattle. Paxton also recently made requests for records from PFLAG, a prominent LGBTQ advocacy organization in the United States, concerning their support for families of transgender minors seeking treatments such as puberty blockers and hormone therapy.

“It’s rather disturbing that a Sheriffs’ Association wants to be able to prosecute and execute out of state requests against LGBTQ+ individuals, abortion providers, and more,” Chapman told Truthout. “While it’s disturbing, it is not surprising. They clearly demonstrate that law enforcement is NEVER on the side of LGBTQ+ people. Once again, all cops are bastards.”

Sixteen attorneys general representing Republican-led states, including Texas, Florida, and Kentucky, are also opposing the shield law, and threatened to sue Maine earlier this month should it enact LD227. Frey said that he was “thoroughly dismayed” by the attorneys general.

“We do have a right to disagree and I fully concur that one state cannot control another. Recognizing these shared values, I welcome your respect for Maine’s ability to decide what access to health care people in Maine receive, free from interference by out-of-state actors,” Frey said in response.

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