Abortion Rights Proposed to the Maryland Constitution – CBS Baltimore

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) – Leading members of the Maryland House of Representatives said on Monday they would support a constitutional amendment to protect abortion rights in the state, as well as other measures to expand access, because of the potential for abortion. The conservative U.S. Supreme Court could overturn or weaken federal abortion rights protections.

If approved by the Maryland General Assembly, the constitutional amendment will be put to a vote for voters to decide in November.

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House Speaker Adrienne Jones said the Supreme Court “has authorized some of the most restrictive abortion legislation we’ve seen in a generation,” jeopardizing vital access to health care. reproductive health.

“Restricting women’s family planning options is dangerous and unacceptable,” said Jones, a Baltimore County Democrat. “We will do everything we can to ensure that women’s reproductive health care is protected in Maryland and that any woman seeking care in our state is protected. approachable.”

At least 20 states, mainly across the South and Midwest, already have laws that severely restrict or prohibit abortion if the high court overturns Roe v. Wade and leaves the matter to the states. But more than a dozen states, plus the District of Columbia, have statutory protections for abortion rights, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive rights think tank.

Maryland passed legislation in 1991 to protect women’s right to have an abortion if the Supreme Court restricts abortion. It was petitioned with the ballot, and voters approved it in 1992 with 62% of the vote.

Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1 in the state, and the General Assembly is Democrats.

Lawmakers who appeared with the speaker in a videoconference also outlined measures to expand access to abortion in Maryland.

Del. Jason Buckel, a Republican from western Maryland who is the minority leader in the House of Representatives, said he does not see the need to create a constitutional amendment to reflect what is already state law, especially especially since no Supreme Court ruling will change existing Maryland law.

Buckel, of Allegany County, said: “I am a bit concerned that it is more political and posterity.

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Del. Ariana Kelly, a Montgomery County Democrat, is sponsoring a bill to increase the number of qualified abortion providers in the state. The measure would remove a legal restriction that prevents nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and physician assistants from providing abortion services.

“It aligns with how we approach qualification for other health care processes in Maryland,” says Kelly. “It treats abortion care as it is: healthcare without any unnecessary political restrictions.”

Kelly said Maryland has seen a decline in abortion providers since 1991, when the state had 52 abortion providers. Now, that number has dropped to 44.

“It was a 15% drop in the number of providers, while at the same time we saw a 28% increase in population, so it was clear that we were on the wrong track,” said Kelly. ,” Kelly said.

Residents in the state’s rural areas, low-income communities, and women of color face daily obstacles to access to life, said Karen Nelson, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood Maryland. access to abortion methods.

“And this needs to be a serious concern for all of us, because if we don’t take positive steps now and we find ourselves in a world without Roe, who There will continue to be and those who have not will continue to have none. The threats to topple Roe V. Wade are real and should be taken seriously,” said Nelson.

Another measure Kelly is funding is finding ways to provide equal access to abortion insurance, whether with private insurance or Medicaid.

It would require private insurance plans, with the exception of legally exempt ones, to cover abortion care and not share costs or deductibles.

“We know from research that cost-sharing requirements delay access to care,” says Kelly. “Removing that barrier will help women access care. For Medicaid, it makes our existing abortion care coverage permanent, rather than subject to annual budget bill debate. ”

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https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2022/02/14/abortion-rights-to-be-proposed-for-marylands-constitution/ Abortion Rights Proposed to the Maryland Constitution – CBS Baltimore

Dustin Huang

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