Maryland lawmakers, governor look to make state ‘a safe haven for abortion’

Maryland Governor Wes Moore and other Democratic lawmakers have announced a legislative package to further protect abortion in the state, including one proposed bill that would enshrine the “right” to abortion in the state’s constitution.

Moore held a news conference on Thursday along with Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller and leaders of the House and Senate to announce the pro-abortion measures. One of the measures included in the legislative package would make abortion a constitutional right. Another would protect abortionists, medical professionals, and patients from any criminal or civil investigations prompted by states with pro-life protections. Other bills would implement privacy protections on the medical records of abortion patients “to reduce the risk of criminal or civil actions for out-of-state patients,” according to The Hill, and require all public colleges and universities to develop “reproductive health access plans” to ensure students have access to a “full range” of “reproductive health services.”

“As long as I am the governor of Maryland, our state will be a safe haven for abortion rights,” Moore said. “But the importance of today and the importance of all these leaders is this: We’re going to make sure that Maryland is a safe haven for abortion rights long after I am governor of this state. That’s the importance of today.”

“Governor Moore is not going to leave this to chance; he will work day and night to protect reproductive rights in Maryland,” Miller said. “These bills will solidify the future of reproductive freedoms in Maryland.”

According to The Washington Post, the House Republican caucus issued a statement in response to the legislative package.

“Maryland simply does not need a constitutional amendment enshrining the right to an abortion,” it said. “Moreover, we believe that most Marylanders would prefer a middle course on this issue, and permitting late-term elective abortions — as this amendment appears to allow — is outside the mainstream views of our citizens.” The caucus added, “We are certain that becoming the abortion capital of the United States is not something to aspire to or be proud of.”

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Though he has been in office for less than a month, Moore has already solidified his pro-abortion stance. On his first full day in office, he released $3.5 million designated by the state to fund the training of new abortionists. This follows a trend established in the state to expand abortion access — last year lawmakers approved a bill to allow non-physicians to commit abortions. Abortion is currently allowed in Maryland for any reason up to the arbitrary point of “viability,” but also allowed past that time for a number of exceptions, including the mother’s mental health.

The Post reports that in order for the constitutional amendment to pass, it needs a three-fifths majority in both chambers of the General Assembly. If it secures those votes, it would then be added to the ballot for voters to decide in 2024.

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