Maryland Lawmakers Pass Abortion Access Expansion Bill – CBS Baltimore

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) – The Maryland General Assembly passed a bill Tuesday that would expand access to abortions by ending restrictions on providing them only to doctors and requiring most insurance plans to pay for them. abortion care at no charge.

The Senate gave measure the last paragraph on the 28-15 vote. That would send the measure to Republican Governor Larry Hogan, whose office did not immediately comment on his views on the bill. The governor said he personally opposes abortion, although he has called the issue resolved under state law.

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Advocates say Maryland doesn’t have enough abortion providers for the state’s needs. Senator Delores Kelley, a Baltimore County Democrat who is sponsoring the Senate version of the bill, noted during earlier debate that most counties do not have a single supplier. Best.

“This is a big deal,” said Karen Nelson, president and chief executive officer of Planned Parenthood of Maryland. “We know that just because books are legal doesn’t always mean access, and so today the Maryland General Assembly made sure that there is access.”

The bill would remove a legal restriction that prevents nurses, midwives and physician assistants from providing abortion services. It would create an abortion care training program and require a $3.5 million annual state budget.

Opponents say the measure has gone too far.

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“This bill is expanding even further,” said Senator Justin Ready, a Republican from Carroll County. “Maryland is already one of four states that force taxpayers to fund abortion, and we force it at pretty much every stage of the process.”

The law also aims 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.

The new conservative majority in the US Supreme Court is weighing whether to overturn Roe v. Wade, a landmark 1973 ruling that barred states from outlawing abortion.

If they do, at least 26 states According to the Guttmacher Institute, an abortion-rights research and policy organization has the potential to either ban abortion altogether or severely restrict access.

That would force more women to travel to other states for abortions, prompting Democratic-led states like Maryland to pass new legislation to prepare them.

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Jake Nichol

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