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Maryland likely to become sanctuary state in wake of abortion ruling

“What this means for Maryland is we are going to see a massive increase in pressure on our provider network,” Del. Ariana Kelly says. “Marylanders who are pro-choice need to brace ourselves, because in addition to providing care to Marylanders, we are going to be providing care for people across the country.” (The Washington Post/Evelyn Hockstein

Abortion remains legal in Maryland after the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Friday overturning Roe v. Wade, but advocates and experts warned that the broad ruling could still have significant consequences here.

As other states enact abortion bans, Maryland is likely to become something of a sanctuary state for women seeking to terminate pregnancies, said Del. Ariana B. Kelly, D-Montgomery County.

Kelly helped pass a law this year that broadened the types of medical practitioners who can provide abortions to include nurse practitioners, certified midwives and physicians assistants.

“What this means for Maryland is we are going to see a massive increase in pressure on our provider network,” Kelly said. “Marylanders who are pro-choice need to brace ourselves, because in addition to providing care to Marylanders, we are going to be providing care for people across the country.”

Following Justice Samuel Alito’s sweeping decision Friday, more than a dozen states will have abortion bans on the books within the next 30 days, according to The Washington Post. Other states are expected to follow quickly.

Many states in the south and Midwest are likely to limit abortion, which could put additional pressure on Maryland providers.

The right to abortion is protected under state law in Maryland. Efforts to enshrine the right in the state Constitution, however, have failed to pass out of the legislature in recent years.

House Speaker Adrienne Jones, who this year sponsored a bill that would have put a constitutional amendment up for a vote, vowed to continue pushing for the added protection.

“I will continue to put the full weight of my office behind a Maryland constitutional amendment to protect women’s healthcare and reproductive liberty,” Jones said in a statement. “The recent decisions of the Supreme Court are dragging America backwards. We cannot and will not give up. Now is the time to mobilize for the country we all deserve.”

A huge majority of Marylanders favor keeping abortion legal, though they are divided on whether abortion should be legal in all circumstances or only in some circumstances, a 2021 poll found.

Current Maryland law prohibits the state from interfering with a woman’s decision to terminate a pregnancy before the fetus is viable (generally at about 24 weeks), if an abortion is needed to protect a woman’s life or health, or if the fetus has a serious abnormality.

Kelly’s law also created a $3.5 million annual appropriation for abortion care training. Gov. Larry Hogan withheld the funding this year, effectively putting off the first allocation until 2023.

Kelly called for Hogan to release the funding now, given the expected need for qualified abortion providers in Maryland.

We need it to happen today,” Kelly said.

In an email, a spokesperson for Hogan said the governor would not release the funds early.

The fallout from Friday’s Supreme Court decision could also have other consequences for Maryland, according to Margaret E. Johnson, a law professor and co-director of the Center on Applied Feminism at the University of Baltimore School of Law.

The 6-3 decision creates the possibility of a federal ban on abortion that could preempt Maryland’s protections, she said. The ruling also does not provide for an exception that would allow for abortions in the case of rape or incest, or when the health of a mother is at risk.

Other states could also enact more sweeping bans that prohibit women from traveling to states that offer abortions, like Maryland.

And, ultimately, the Supreme Court’s decision on abortion could open the door to other major rulings based on the rejection of a Constitutional right to privacy, such as same-sex marriage.

“This is demolition day, on the Supreme Court, of the right to privacy and liberty that so many rights are based upon,” Johnson said. “It’s just the beginning.”


4 comments

  1. ALMA c gutierrez

    MY PUSSY MY CHOICE
    THERE IS NO BAN ON ABORTION IN ANY RELIGION ITS A TEACHING CREATING BY MEN , WHO ARE OSTENSIBLY CELIBATE,WHO HAVE NO IN-ROADS OR CONNECTION TO THE LIVES OF WOMEN BECAUSE-THEY DO NOT HAVE WIVES, THEY DO NOT HAVE DAUGHTERS.THAT ABORTION IS MURDER.
    IT IS NOT IN THE BIBLE..
    IN THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES THERE IS NO MENTION OF ABORTION .
    BASING LAWS ON THE IDEA THAT AT CONCEPTION, THE FETUS HAS A SOUL.
    NO ONE KNOWS WHEN THE SOUL ENTERS THE BODY OF THE FETUS. LAWS SHOULDN’T BE WRITTEN AFTER THIS MYSTERY RIDDLE .
    ABORTION BAN IS AN INFRINGEMENT OF RELIGIOUS RIGHT. IT IS OFFENSIVE TO APPLY A BLANKET IDEA OF WHAT IS ALLOWED IN TERMS OF ABORTION ON COMMUNITIES WHO DO 0NOT BELIEVE THAT .

  2. @ALMA c gutierrez
    Women of the Bible prayed in order to have children. And considered it a blessing to be able to give life. E.g. Hanna found in 1 Samuel 1:11 desires deeply for God to intervine and open her womb.
    I would argue a fetus does have a soul, as we are created beings made for a specific purpose and placed on earth to accomplish that purpose and mission. To deny a fetus the right to grow it would then never have the ability to ever have a soul based on your words..
    What is more offensive is to remove what will become a child from the mother’s womb without giving the child a chance to life. I hope you reconsider your stance..

  3. Stop it with that shit please. At the VERY LEAST they could’ve left it available for people who were raped or molested. But not even a slice of dignity for women as less than half the population even supports a full sweeping ban on abortion. I’m not even a woman and I’m fuming. When a mother is going to give birth, but the doctors said it would kill her, even though she has kids at home, is it still right to force her to give birth and never let her children see their mother again? What kind of heartless, cruel and inhumane practices are Christians believing? I miss the days when you guys actually cared for Jesus and love, not scripture and dogma

  4. Harold O Alexander MD

    Opinion: Do Not Compliment the State of MD for Its Abortion Rights Protections, it’s undeserved!
    ◦ The State of MD may be liberal and somewhat progressive, when it comes to women’s reproductive rights, but its quagmire of “TRAP laws” (Targeted Regulations Against Abortion Providers) continues to ensnare and eliminate American Board certified abortion providers.
    ◦ The legislative landscape essentially makes a mockery of the ethical sacrosanctness of autonomy and the doctor patient relationship by allowing a Board of Medicine free reign to target, harass, and character assassinate providers. Charges are manufactured, selectively prosecuted, validated by experts that have never performed the procedure, and licenses revoked as if a felony was committed! The MD States Attorneys Office and the Office of Health Care Quality act in concert to enforce TRAP laws that they claim are designed to protect the health and welfare of women, but are in reality, “ wolf in sheepskin “ attacks upon privacy, providers, and choice!
    ◦ The State of Maryland should not be allowed to pat itself on the back, taking credit for being a standard bearing advocate for women’s reproductive rights as long as its legislative and judicial branches continue to unjustly discriminate, eliminate, and target abortion providers.
    ◦ Prosecutorial targeting, absence of true expert testimony that respects evidence based medicine , lack of accountability, and lack of transparency are responsible for systemic injustice that embodies MD abortion laws.
    ◦ Continued disparities within minority communities are directly attributable to systemic misogyny, legislative failures to enact an egalitarian healthcare system for women, and a judiciary that has been rendered incapable of responding to the true will of the people because partisanship, dark money, and unaccountability prevail.
    ◦ If the MD legislature really wants to help save women’s lives, they would first look to ensure the viability of those physicians dedicated to preserving a woman’s right to autonomy and choice. Instead, abortion providers are stigmatized, perpetually investigated, harassed, and have complaints from the public solicited on Board web sites, lawfully. Boards are immunized from punishment and therefore unaccountable, but they punish with final impunity.
    ◦ Finally, tenured American Board Certified Ob Gyns, trained to do the most basic safe office gynecological surgery in history , a D&C, must be labeled as a “surgical abortion facility” in order to be able to perform the procedure. This determination alone is an egregious injustice that lacks merit, justification, and is just another instrument of the right wing that perpetuates targeting. The legislature should not give itself undue credit!!
    ◦ The truth is that, in the State of Maryland a licensed ObGyn physician providing non-surgical, medical abortions can be alleged to have violated the state law concerning Surgical Abortion Facilities, have his medical license revoked and not be reinstated on the basis of “running an unlicensed abortion clinic “.
    ◦ State sponsored intrusions through the MD States Attorney and MD Board of Physicians into abortion care under the guise of protecting the health and safety of women will continue to more severely punish providers, minorities, the poor, and especially the largest vulnerable, marginalized, disenfranchised, and victimized patient population, women.
    ◦ Harold Oliver Alexander MD
    ◦ Frank W Ballou HS 1970
    ◦ Prnceton U
    ◦ Howard U
    ◦ Howard U College of Medicine 1977
    ◦ ABOG 1986-2016