ANNAPOLIS, Md. – On March 25, the Senate debated an extreme abortion bill (SB 890 – Abortion Care Access Act) for hours before it received preliminary approval and advanced to a third reader where a final vote is expected early next week.
SB 890, the Abortion Care Access Act, is a major change in Maryland’s health care policy that moves Maryland’s already liberal abortion laws more to the extreme and could place women’s health at risk.
This radical bill expands abortion providers beyond physicians to include other healthcare occupations, including nurses and physician’s assistants, even though they do not have similar educational or practical experience and do not perform surgical procedures under their scope of practice. Additionally, taxpayers would pay millions to train these healthcare workers.
Common sense amendments were offered and the rejected by the Democrat majority, including:
· Requirement to provide life-saving care for a babies born alive during an abortion procedure
· Requirement for a provider to notify a minor’s parent if they are 12 years old or younger and cannot use the “mature or best interest” exception to avoid notification
· Remove taxpayer funding for abortion training
· Stipulate that the organization contracted to do the training could not have a history of racism
At the conclusion of today’s debate, the Senate President Ferguson clearly stated that this bill would be the only abortion bill to advance this Session, indicating that HB 1771, the proposed constitutional amendment that would enshrine abortion rights in the Maryland Constitution, was dead for this session.
“This is a tough issue. Look, this is going to be the only time we take up this issue this session. We’ve got one more day left on Monday…”
“While our members are deeply saddened that such extreme abortion measures are moving forward after today’s lengthy debate, we are at least in agreement with Senator Ferguson’s announcement that the proposed amendment to place abortion in the Maryland Constitution is dead for the session,” said Senate Minority Leader Bryan Simonaire. “In 1992, abortion rights were established and settled in Maryland law. At a time of heightened political tension, the Constitutional Amendment does nothing but create further divisions in our state especially when it does not change a single abortion right by enacting it.”
Current abortion laws in Maryland are some of the most liberal and include provisions that allow:
· Third trimester abortions up to birth are legal for any woman for a “health concern,” which is a very vague and expansive term as defined by the Attorney General’s Office. It is basically abortion on demand.
· Waiver of parental notification of a minor of any age if the provider believes the child is mature, or it is not in the child’s best interest to inform their parents
· Civil and criminal immunity for providers who decide to give a minor an abortion, even if their decision was inappropriate.