In the most sweeping change to Maryland’s abortion laws in three decades, state lawmakers passed a bill on Tuesday that would dramatically expand who could perform abortions, while forbidding most insurers from charging patients out-of-pocket costs for the procedure.
Maryland currently only allows physicians to perform abortions, a restriction that abortion advocates say leaves two-thirds of the state’s counties without a single abortion provider. The bill would let physician assistants, midwives, and nurse practitioners, as well as other properly trained medical providers, perform the procedure as 14 other states do. The abortion-access legislation was passed by Democrats on a party-line vote, and is one of a handful of contentious bills General Assembly leaders suspect might provoke a veto from Republican Governor Larry Hogan. As a candidate, Hogan said he was personally against abortion but access to the procedure was a matter of settled law in Maryland. He has not signaled what he intends to do about the bill.
Maryland State Republicans had attempted to place restrictions on facilities that provide abortion, require mental health resources to be offered to women seeking abortions, and use the $3.5 million to instead bolster neonatal intensive care programs. Senate Minority Whip Justin D. Ready (R-Carroll) called the bill a “radical and far-reaching” policy in a state that already has comparably liberal abortion laws. “You don’t need this bill to stay way out there in what’s allowed in Maryland on abortion,” he said.
Nicole McCann a volunteer case manager with the Baltimore Abortion Fund:
“Our state (Maryland) actually protects a persons right to choose”. #ourmaryland #womensreproductiverights #abortionishealthcare #stopthebans pic.twitter.com/tQLO8ISGl7
— Our Maryland (@Our_Maryland) May 22, 2019
Maryland joins California, New Jersey, and other Blue states in expanding access to abortion as clinics prepare for an influx of patients from states outlawing abortions between six and fifteen weeks of fetal gestation.
Maryland legislature passes bill to allow more providers to offer abortion and require most insurance to cover it.
Kentucky legislature passes 15-week ban that restricts access to medication abortion and access for minors.
— Amy Littlefield (@amylittlefield) March 31, 2022
The measure, which would also set aside $3.5 million to train providers who may have attended medical schools in other states that do not offer such education, is in direct opposition to the most restrictive anti-abortion legislation yet passed in states such as Texas, Mississippi, Idaho, and Arizona. And it would force insurance companies to cover the procedure without co-pays or deductibles, reducing the expense for pregnant people.
— PPMaryland (@PPMaryland) March 29, 2022