BETHESDA, Md. — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said he’s not sure that amending Maryland’s constitution to guarantee abortion rights is needed because that right is already state law.
But he said if legislation to do that passes the General Assembly, “It would go on to the voters to vote on in 2020 and I think that would be great. I trust the voters of Maryland to make the right decision.”
Hogan, a Republican running for re-election, responded to questions Thursday about an effort by Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch to make sure state laws on abortion keep the procedure legal. Busch proposes passing state legislation that would put the issue to voters in two years.
That would mean abortion would still be legal in the state even if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.
Hogan said if legislation to do that passes the General Assembly, “It would go on to the voters to vote on in 2020 and I think that would be great. I trust the voters of Maryland to make the right decision.”
Hogan’s comments, however, didn’t satisfy state Democratic Party leaders, who criticized his past statements on the issue of abortion. Hogan has said in the past that he’s personally opposed to abortion.
In a press call on the issue, Maryland Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews said the current political climate, with the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, makes protecting abortion rights more important.
Kavanaugh’s dissent in a case involving a pregnant immigrant seeking an abortion has raised alarms among abortion rights supporters. He has been nominated to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy.
Referring to the composition of the Supreme Court, Matthews said Thursday, “The makeup of the court is shifting dramatically, and that’s why it’s so important for us in Maryland to have clarity from our governor on where he stands on this issue.”
Hogan noted that Maryland already has a law protecting abortion rights, so he wasn’t sure that amending the state’s constitution was necessary.
“We have a tough law, so any changes at the federal level wouldn’t affect Maryland,” he said. But, Hogan said he welcomed a referendum on the issue.
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