Ensure Maryland has enough abortion providers (HB 937, SB 890). Abortion access shouldn’t depend on zip code, yet two-thirds of Maryland counties do not have abortion providers. To expand the provider community, we need to:
- Update Maryland’s law on the provision of abortion care. Maryland’s outdated law only allows physicians to provide abortion care. But other pregnancy care is routinely provided by nurse practitioners, nurse-midwives, licensed midwives, and physician assistants. Marylanders should be able to turn to these trusted providers for abortion care, as recommended by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists. Fourteen other states recognize that these practitioners can provide high-quality and safe abortion care. Maryland is behind the curve.
- Support clinical education in abortion care. More health care practitioners would offer abortion care if they had ongoing opportunities for training in abortion care. Those opportunities are shrinking, especially for practitioners educated in states like Texas.
Ensure abortion care is covered like any other health care service (HB 937, SB 890). Abortion access shouldn’t depend on someone’s insurance status. Both private insurance and Medicaid should provide equal abortion coverage without imposing obstacles like cost-sharing and deductible requirements.
Enshrine Marylanders’ right to abortion access in the state constitution (HB 1171). Maryland has a unique opportunity to solidify its protections for abortion access this year. HB 1171 – Declaration of Rights – Right to Reproductive Liberty would give Marylanders the chance to vote in November to enshrine the right to choose an abortion in the state constitution. Maryland law already guarantees the legal right to the procedure, but having the right in the constitution would not only strengthen this right, it would also make restrictions—which anti-choice legislators introduce every year—more difficult. These bills in tandem will ensure that Marylanders have the right and the access to abortion care, and make it harder for opponents to stand in the way of both the right and the access.
Abortion access for Marylanders is already limited by provider shortages and poor insurance coverage. It will only get worse after the Supreme Court’s decision in June. SB 8 in Texas has given us a sobering preview on abortion access after the Dobbs decision. A month after the SB 8 went into effect, the number of abortions in Texas dropped by 50%. Individuals who were able to go out-of-state traveled hundreds of miles for services, sometimes even thousands as we have seen individuals from Texas at Planned Parenthood of Maryland. The states that surround Texas were overwhelmed by requests for abortion care appointments – increasing waiting times for both in-state and out-of-state patients to as long as 19 days in Louisiana , 20 days in New Mexico, and 23 days in Oklahoma.
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