Maryland Legislature is overruling government veto on abortion expansion

ANNAPOLIS, MD. – Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto on a measure to expand abortion access in Maryland was overturned by the Democrat-controlled General Assembly on Saturday.

The state will end a restriction that only doctors can perform abortions. The new law allows nursing practitioners, midwives and medical assistants to continue their education. It creates an abortion care education program and requires $3.5 million in government funding annually. It also requires that most insurance plans cover abortions for free.

Del. Emily Shetty said she supports the measure on the floor of the house as a mother who has experienced a high-risk pregnancy. She also described being a sexual assault survivor in college and the difficulties she had “with the weight of what happened after that incident.”

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“And thankfully the incident did not result in pregnancy, but if it had, not being able to access the care I needed at the time would have drastically changed my life,” Shetty said , a Democrat.

Hogan wrote in his veto letter that the legislation “endangers women’s health and lives by allowing non-physicians to perform abortions.”

The measure comes as the conservative majority in the US Supreme Court is considering whether Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that barred states from banning abortion should be overturned.

If that happens, at least 26 states are likely to either ban abortion outright or severely limit access, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization that advocates for abortion rights.

“In this regard, it is very important that we keep in mind that the strategies this bill uses ensure that people have access to the care they need, when they need it, no matter what happens to the rest of the country.” — no matter what happens to the Supreme Court,” Del said. Ariana Kelly, a Democrat who was the main sponsor of the bill.

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Republican lawmakers have criticized the provision, which allocates $3.5 million in taxpayer dollars annually to education. Del. House Minority Representative Haven Shoemaker described the law as “the most radical expansion of abortion in Maryland history in a state that already has some of the most liberal abortion laws in the country.”

“Female Speaker, this law is too extreme, even for Maryland,” Republican Shoemaker said, referring to Democrat Adrienne Jones, Speaker of the House.

Kelly said the measure modernizes the choice the state’s voters made in 1992 when they backed abortion rights in a statewide vote with 62% of voters.

“It will ensure that people have access to care, especially people of color, especially low-income people, especially rural people,” Kelly said. “We know that physician-only restrictions exacerbate health inequalities, and we are trying to reduce health inequalities in the state of Maryland with this law.”

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The measure will come into effect on July 1st. The Insurance Rules apply to all policies, contracts and health insurance plans issued, delivered or renewed in the State on or after January 1.

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https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/04/09/maryland-lawmakers-override-govs-veto-of-abortion-expansion/ Maryland Legislature is overruling government veto on abortion expansion

Jaclyn Diaz

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