Maryland just became yet another state where Democratic legislators have sought to create more access to abortion in anticipation of an upcoming Supreme Court decision.
Democrats voted to override Republican Governor Larry Hogan’s veto of an abortion bill that broadens who can perform abortions in the state, widening that pool to include nurse practitioners, physician assistants, and certain midwives.
The debate on both sides of the bill has been intense.
Republican Delegate Matthew Morgan said, per The Washington Post, “You could easily rename this bill ‘The Abortion Tourism Act of 2022’ because that’s what this bill really does,” adding, “It basically expands it to anybody but the receptionist.”
House Government Operations Chairwoman Shane Pendergrass, a Democrat, said on Saturday, “Your conscience is a personal thing,” adding, “Your conscience and your religion is not my conscience and my religion. We are allowing women the autonomy — to use their brains and their conscience — to make decisions about their lives.”
As NPR reported, “Maryland House members voted 90-46 on Saturday to reverse the governor’s decision, while state Senate members voted 29-15.” Fox News added, “The two houses of the Maryland General Assembly passed the bill last month, with Democrats supporting it and Republicans opposing it.”
The New York Times reported, “Under the new law, which will take effect July 1, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and trained physician assistants will be able to perform abortions.”
In a letter explaining the veto, Hogan said, “As governor, I have upheld my commitment to take no action that would affect Maryland law where it concerns reproductive rights. With this action, I am reaffirming that commitment.”
He said the bill “endangers the health and lives of women by allowing non-physicians to perform abortions. The bill risks lowering the high standard of reproductive health care services received by women in Maryland. These procedures are complex, and can, and often do, result in significant medical complications that require the attention of a licensed physician.”
He added, “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 bill is also intended to establish the “Abortion Clinical Care Training Program,” and support it by providing $3.5 million each year in funding. The program is meant to “protect access to abortion care by ensuring that there are a sufficient number of health professionals to provide abortion care.”
The bill states that the “Department shall contract with a coordinating organization to administer the program.”
The organization will “support abortion care clinical training to qualified providers… and to the clinical care teams of the qualified providers” to “expand the number of health care professionals with abortion care training” and “increase the racial and ethnic diversity among health care professionals with abortion care training.”
It also would “support the identification, screening, and placement of qualified providers at training sites.”
As The Daily Wire previously reported, the high court heard oral arguments late last year in the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case out of Mississippi over a law that doesn’t allow abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
The court could choose to uphold the Mississippi law, cutting away at the precedent established by Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Roe v. Wade. The justices could also decide to overturn Roe entirely or to strike down the Mississippi law. If Roe v. Wade is overturned, the decisions regarding abortion would be returned to the states rather than made legal on a broad scale across the country.
Several states have taken action to pass pro-life or pro-abortion legislation. Florida, Arizona, and Kentucky have passed bills that prohibit abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy, while Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) signed a bill that codifies abortion access into law.
Michigan Democratic Governor Gretchen Whitmer also filed a lawsuit on Thursday directed at Michigan’s state law from 1931 prohibiting abortion.