The Democratic-controlled Maryland legislature on Saturday overrode a veto from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan on a measure to expand abortion access in the state.
After the state Senate voted 90 to 46 and the House voted 29 to 15 to override Hogan's veto, physicians will no longer be the only medical providers permitted to perform abortions in the state.
House Bill 937, which will take effect July 1, also establishes a training program for abortion providers and will cost $3.5 million annually in state funding. The legislation will force most insurance plans to cover abortions at no cost.
In his veto letter to the state legislature, Hogan said the bill "endangers the health and lives of women by allowing non-physicians to perform abortions."
"The bill risks lowering the standard of reproductive health care services received by women in Maryland," he wrote. "These procedures are complex and can, and often do, result in significant medical complications that require the attention of a licensed physician."
"Licensed physicians have a level of education and training not received by other types of healthcare professionals," Hogan continued. "Unlike nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, physician assistants, and licensed certified midwives, physicians are uniquely qualified to perform these procedures and resolve any medical complications should they arise. The only impact that this bill would have on women's reproductive rights would be to set back standards for women's health care and safety."
This comes as a number of GOP-led states across the country are passing bills restricting abortion access.
In September, Texas enacted a law prohibiting abortions after a heartbeat is detected, which is typically around six weeks of pregnancy. The Texas law also allows private citizens to sue people believed to be aiding and abetting the procedure, including doctors, people who fund a woman's abortion and anyone who drives a woman to get the procedure. The U.S. Supreme Court and Texas Supreme Court have both ruled against efforts to overturn the Texas abortion law.
And later this year, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear Mississippi's 15-week abortion ban. The case, which will directly challenge the landmark 1973 decision Roe vs. Wade, will be heard by the six conservative and three liberal justices on the high court.
Meanwhile, Democratic-controlled states are making moves to protect abortion access.
Earlier this month, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis (D) signed a bill into law codifying a "person's fundamental right" to an abortion, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear (D) vetoed a measure that would have banned abortions after 15 weeks, the Idaho Supreme Court blocked a law that would prohibit the procedure once a heartbeat is detected and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) preemptively sued several county prosecutors in her state to try and get around a 1931 law that bans all abortions in the Wolverine State.