This past Friday was a very sad day for women across the United States after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe V. Wade, removing the constitutionally protected right to abortion.
However, women in Maryland will not be immediately impacted by the decision because state law allows for abortion and was expanded earlier this year. Abortion has been legal in Maryland since 1992.
Legislators passed a law during session 2022 to expand access and allow trained professionals who are not physicians to perform early abortions that also require insurance to cover. The bill was vetoed by Gov. Hogan but overridden by the Legislature.
Beginning in July of 2023, $3.5 million will be sent to fund the program and only the governor can allocate funding for it sooner. Gov. Hogan refuses to release them any sooner.
State lawmakers are also pledging to further enhance those protections by including them in the state constitution — a measure that was passed by the house this year but has not been brought up in the senate.
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“I’m horrified, truly stunned that we have hit this place,” Senate President Bill Ferguson said. “I think it is absolutely necessary that we revisit this, and I can commit — assuming I am back as presiding officer in the Senate — that we will bring the constitutional amendment up for a vote.”
A spokesperson for Governor Larry Hogan also shared a statement on his behalf.
“In 1992, Maryland voters approved a constitutional referendum legalizing and protecting access to abortion as a matter of state law — that measure remains in effect today following the Supreme Court decision in Dobbs v. Jackson. I swore an oath to uphold the Constitution and the laws of Maryland, and that is what I have always done and will continue to do as governor.”
However, state leaders are concerned about the possible influx of people coming to tin Maryland while there is a shortage of healthcare workers.
For women in Baltimore seeking support, the city health department offered a list of resources:
- Abortion Finder
- Hey Jane
- Plan C Pill
- Repro Legal Hotline
- Baltimore Abortion Fund
- Planned Parenthood of Maryland and the June Coleman Fund
- National Network of Abortion Funds
“We’ve known for some time that the Supreme Court and its conservative supermajority intended to overturn Roe v. Wade this term. But that doesn’t make today any easier for the millions of women across America that have effectively lost control around making decisions directly impacting their health and their bodies,” said Baltimore City Health Comissoner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa. “Due to today’s ruling, those health decisions now reside in largely male dominated chambers where just 28% of all state senators and only 32% of all state representatives across the country are women.
As a Black woman, a mother and (Historically Black College and University)-trained clinician, I know that today an even heavier burden was placed on the backs of women who look just like me. The health disparities for women of color are appalling. According to the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Black women are more than three times as likely to die from a pregnancy-related cause than white women. I fear that these outcomes will worsen in states where women of color are denied access to these critical services,” Dzirasa continued.
“Fortunately in Maryland, we have robust protections for women’s health. Maryland is one of 16 states that uses Medicaid funds to cover abortion care in certain circumstances. In addition, many private health insurance plans in Maryland also cover abortion care. With the passage of the Abortion Care Access Act (effective July 1), Maryland law will aim to provide equitable access to abortion coverage, whether with private insurance or Medicaid. It will also require private insurance plans, except for those with legal exemptions, to cover abortion care and without cost-sharing or deductibles.
“With Roe v. Wade overturned, Maryland abortion providers are anticipating an influx of individuals crossing state lines to seek abortion services. Maryland is home to two of the four national late term abortion clinics as well as over 20 different abortion service sites,” Dziras said.
Mayor Brandon Scott also announced that the city will provide $300,000 in grants to stand up a fund at the Baltimore Civic Fund used to provide funding directly to organizations that provide abortion and family planning services.
“Today, the court has taken aim at women and their right to make fundamental health choices about their own bodies. This decision is especially harmful for Black women and women of color, who already face disparate health challenges and barriers to care. The court got it absolutely wrong again today. Men have absolutely no place deciding what women do with their bodies. I promise to make sure Baltimore City is doing its part to maintain safe access to abortion services for our resident and those who come here seeking care. I call on my fellow mayors to do the same in their cities. This election cycle couldn’t be more important. If, like me, you support women’s rights, make sure your voice is heard on the ballot,” said Mayor Scott.
Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby also vowed Baltimore City will be a safe space for women seeking abortions.
“Let me be clear that as the Baltimore City state’s attorney, I will do everything in my power to ensure that these draconian laws never take heed in Baltimore City. We will vigilantly and unequivocally support a woman’s right to choose what is best for her body, her life and her family,” Mosby said Wednesday at a news conference.
“As a mother of two little girls, I am not only appalled but heartbroken. I’m heartbroken because I’ve taught my little girls to not only appreciate that their bodies are their temples, but appreciate the fact that they lived in a country that constitutionally guaranteed them the autonomous right to make decisions about their own bodies,” in a statement shared on on Friday.
“Today, that constitutional guarantee is no more and the same folks that profess a fundamental constitutional right to bear arms are the same folks who have now politically ruled that women don’t have a fundamental, constitutional right to decide what happens with our bodies. What happened today is appalling, it’s disheartening, and downright frightening. Today’s decision will impact millions of women across this country whose lives will be put in jeopardy, and for the first time, I’m ashamed of what this decision means to the ideals of our country.”