Maryland lawmaker expects to see influx of women seeking abortions

Maryland’s abortion law, coupled with its recent move to expand access to the procedure, is likely to make it a destination for women in states where access to abortion is being banned or severely restricted.

The Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, taking away the constitutional right to an abortion, doesn’t affect Maryland’s current abortion law, which was passed in 1992. “More than 60% of Marylanders voted to codify the protections of Roe v. Wade in Maryland statute,” said state Del. Ariana Kelly.

In the legislative session in Annapolis this year, Kelly pushed for passage of Maryland’s Abortion Care Access Act, which will allow nurses, midwives and nurse practitioners to perform abortions. The law goes into effect July 1.

As a result of Friday’s decision by the court, Kelly said, “Maryland is going to see a lot of patient influx.” She said, “We’re expecting about 26% of clinics to close, and most of those will be in the South and Midwest, so we’re going to need to take those patients.”

Kelly said the point of the law was to make certain that abortion care is accessible in all corners of the state, not just in the Baltimore-Washington corridor.

“We’re going to have insurance coverage and Medicaid coverage for abortion with no cost-sharing,” Kelly added.

The Abortion Care Access Act was vetoed by Gov. Larry Hogan but became law after his veto was overridden by the legislature. Hogan said in his veto that he was concerned about allowing “non-physicians” to perform abortions.

The bill mandated $3.5 million for training providers, but Hogan declined to release the money early, despite lawmakers’ requests.

“My hope is that he releases that funding. If not, it can be released by a new governor in January,” Kelly said.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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This article was written by WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters and republished with permission. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

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