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Tipsheet

Democratic Maryland Lawmakers Override Governor’s Veto to Allow Non-Physicians to Perform Abortions

Timothy Tai/Columbia Daily Tribune via AP, File

On Saturday, Maryland lawmakers overrode a veto from Republican Gov. Larry Hogan to allow trained medical professionals other than physicans to perform abortions.

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The Associated Press noted that the state’s General Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats, overrode the governor’s veto. Now, millions of state dollars will go to funding an abortion training program for midwives, physician assistants, and other medical professionals.

“The state will end a restriction that only physicians can provide abortions. The new law will enable nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and physician assistants to provide them with training. It creates an abortion care training program and requires $3.5 million in state funding annually. It also requires most insurance plans to cover abortions without cost,” the AP noted.

Hogan’s veto letter pointed out that the legislation “endangers the health and lives of women by allowing non-physicians to perform abortions.”

“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. 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,” Hogan added in the letter.

“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,” he concluded.

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Republican lawmakers in Maryland’s General Assembly described the legislation as “extreme” and “radical.” 

Democrats, on the other hand, praised it, with the bill’s lead sponsor Del. Ariana Kelly Democrat claiming that “physician-only restrictions exacerbate health inequalities.”

“It’s very important that we keep in mind that the strategies that this bill is using is ensuring that people can access the care that they need, when they need it, no matter what happens with the rest of the country — no matter what happens with the Supreme Court,” Kelly told the AP.

The Supreme Court of the United States is currently reviewing a case surrounding the constitutionality of a 15-week abortion ban in Mississippi. The case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, could overturn 1973 case Roe v. Wade. A decision is expected this summer. Other states, such as ArizonaFlorida and Mississippi have created legislation banning abortion at 15 weeks, which is mainstream in Europe.

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