Maryland's Legislature decides the state was not pro-abortion enough already

The Maryland General Assembly recently voted to override Governor Larry Hogan's veto to enact access to abortion and paid leave into law.  The vote in the House of Delegates was 90 to 46 and the Senate 29 to 15.

The Abortion Care Access Act expands who can commit abortion procedures to include midwives, nurse practitioners, and doctor assistants.  It also allocates $3.5 million to fund and train health care providers to promote abortion.  Most insurance providers will be required to cover abortions at no expense.

Maryland's Department of Health will be required to partner with a nonprofit organization to oversee and organize grants for abortion programs at a minimum of two local community centers.  Abortions will not be required to have a deductible or co-payment plan, as the law will require abortions to be covered under state policy.

 A study by the Guttmacher Institute, a think-tank associated with Planned Parenthood, reported that 36 states have laws that ensure that abortions must be performed by a licensed medical doctor.  Fourteen other states and Washington, D.C. do not require a licensed doctor.  Maryland will be included in that list.

The law will determine viability as likelihood that a baby can survive outside the mother's womb, according to the judgment of the health clinic.

The president of Maryland Right to Life, Laura Bogley, said, "Abortion activists in the Maryland Democrat Caucuses are no longer pretending that they want abortion to be safe, legal and rare.  They only care that abortion is legal and lucrative."  She told the Catholic News Agency, "So the question for Maryland voters is why should we be forced to pay for abortions under Medicaid or through higher health insurance premiums?"

Republican politicians in Maryland have criticized the bill, especially the allocation of $3.5 million to the state's budget for abortion procedures.  House minority whip Haven Shoemaker remarked that the bill is "the most radical expansion of abortion in Maryland's history in a state that already has some of the most liberal abortion laws in the country."

The majority of medical cases will not allow an unwed minor to get an abortion without parental consent, but one exception is if the minor is living on her own.  Another is if the abortionist determines that the child would suffer harm after informing a parent.

Governor Larry Hogan, a mildly pro-abortion Republican, refused to sign the bill into law due to how extreme it is.  Hogan penned a letter stating that this bill "endangers the health and lives of women by allowing non-physicians to perform abortions" and "risks lowering the high standard of reproductive health care services received by women in Maryland."  Hogan ended by saying, "The only impact that this bill would have on women's reproductive rights would be to set back standards for women's health care and safety."

The Washington Post editorial board praised the new law, calling it "a significant step to increase access to abortion statewide."

The American Board of Medical Specialties concludes that abortions committed late-term make for a convoluted medical procedure and that two years of additional training should be required.  Non-doctor abortions pose harm to a woman's health.  To become a licensed OB-GYN, you must graduate from a four-year medical school and then a four-year postgraduate program.

The American Association of Pro-Life OB-GYNs (AAPLOG) produced a statement on non-physicians performing abortions, stating, "This will lead to more adverse outcomes in women who have entrusted their health to the abortionist's care."  Furthermore, "most physicians enter the medical profession to become healers, not killers."

The Abortion Care Access Act will officially become law on July 1.  This is around the time when the Supreme Court will decide whether to strike down Roe v. Wade, the 1973 legal decision that made abortion legal in all 50 states.

Image: Nogwater via Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0 (cropped).

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