Md. legislator withdraws bill intended to protect access to abortion

WASHINGTON — An effort to protect abortion rights in the state’s constitution won’t be moving forward in Maryland this year.

The bill, which was strongly pushed by House Speaker Michael Busch, D-Anne Arundel, has now been withdrawn, according to the Washington Post. Busch said he pulled the bill after it was clear the state senate wasn’t going to move forward on it this legislative session.

Any amendment to the state constitution isn’t fully ratified until it passes by referendum. The earliest that would happen is November 2020.

A spokesman from Senate President Mike Miller’s office said the preference is to take up constitutional amendments in the same year they’d be voted on, which means the bill is likely to come back in the 2020 legislative session.

Busch said the intent of the bill was to ensure access to abortion remained legal in the state, even if the Supreme Court moves against it adversely.

Miller clarified that the withdrawal of the bill was not in reaction to the strong backlash faced by abortion bills in recent months in states like Virginia and New York.

As it is, Maryland has some of the most permissive abortion laws in the country. But Busch says writing protections into the state constitution is important for future generations of Maryland women.

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