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This weekend, lawmakers in Maryland voted to go above Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a measure that would permit practitioners other than physicians to do abortions. This would include midwives, physician’s assistants, and nurse practitioners.
The members of the Maryland House of Delegates voted 90-46 to override the governor’s veto. The Senate also voted 29-15 to bypass Hogan’s veto.
A majority of the two chamber’s members are Democrats whereas Governor Hogan is a Republican. The measure will become law and will be in effect as of July 1, in Maryland.
Support For the Abortion Care Access Act
Delegate Emily Shetty proclaimed that she was supportive of the measure as a mother who has experienced a pregnancy that was high-risk. She also described being a survivor of sexual assault in college and the troubles she went through with the weight of what happened following the incident.
Referring to Maryland legislators, “They stood up for health care, they stood up for access to abortion care — which we believe is health care, and health care is a human right — so they did what was right for the women in the state of Maryland,” said Karen J. Nelson, the president and chief executive of Planned Parenthood of Maryland.
The Abortion Care Access Act, House Bill 937, states that providers that are qualified include providers that have medical licenses or certifications that include abortion performances.
House Delegate Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk posted on Twitter and thanked her House coworkers for voting to go over the governor’s veto on her legislation that protects their public health officials from political influence that is unwarranted. She also proclaimed that it is important that they lead the way for the policy with science.
Thank you so much to my House colleagues for voting to override the Governor’s veto on my legislation to protect our public health officials from undue political influence. It is imperative that we guide our policy by science. #working4md #publichealth #Science https://t.co/8KhQ5ZqkiM
— Del. J. Peña-Melnyk (@JPenaMelnyk) April 9, 2022
Abortion Care Clinical Training Program
“The bill risks lowering the high standard of reproductive health care services received by women in Maryland. These procedures are complex, and can, and often do, result in significant medical complications that require the attention of a licensed physician.” the governor wrote in his letter to legislators accompanying his veto.
HB-937 provides for an Abortion Care Clinical Training Program to be instituted. This directs the state to contact a corporation to create abortion care training programs at a minimum of two sites in the community. The measure allotted $3.5 million for the program annually.
The Act’s intention is to expand the number of professionals in health care that has abortion care training. It will also raise the ethnic and racial diversification among health care professionals with training in abortion care.
The Health Department in Maryland may not announce who is taking part in the program. The organizations that will be contacted will have to submit a report to the department annually. The programs must be nonprofit and have prior experience with running abortion programs.
Parental Notification and Consent
In a majority of cases, a physician or other qualified providers cannot do abortions on unmarried minors without contacting the minor’s parents or guardians. However, a provider does not have to receive consent from the parents or guardians if the minor does not live with them or if the provider made a reasonable attempt to get consent from the parent or guardian and was not successful, according to the measure.
The procedure can also be done without consent if the provider has reason to think the minor would be in danger of abuse if the parent or guardian was notified, if the minor has the maturity and capability to give informed consent, or if the request of permission is not in the best interest of the minor.
According to the Act, the state will not be able to get involved in a woman’s choice to get an abortion prior to the fetus’s viability as outlined in the U.S. Constitution. They also cannot intervene at any time throughout pregnancy if abortion is needed to save the mother’s life or health, or if the child is affected by a genetic defect, abnormalities, or deformity.
Provider Insurance Qualifications and Requirements
Insurers that are qualified under the measures are companies that are nonprofit and are organizations that maintain health. They must provide labor and delivery coverages under state healthcare contracts and policies.
The bill also states that insurers that are in those parameters have to cover abortions without mandating a deductible, copayments, coinsurance, or other cost-splitting requirements. They are also required to inform consumers about abortion services that are covered by clearly using the term abortion care in their language.
Non-qualifying insurers include multistate plans that do not provide coverage for abortion, an organization that is eligible to be excluded from abortion coverage, or a high-deductible plan.
Written by Marrissa Kay
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
NPR: Maryland lawmakers expand who can perform abortions after overriding governor’s veto; by Ayana Archie
CBS News: Maryland lawmakers override governor’s veto of abortion access
The New York Times: Maryland Lawmakers Expand Abortion Access, Overriding Governor’s Veto; by Giulia Heyward
Featured and Top Image Courtesy of A Ryan’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Steve Rhodes’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License