One provision would remove the requirement that only physicians can perform abortions.
Annapolis, Md. (KM) – Maryland lawmakers are dealing with a bill this session covering the controversial issue of abortion. The Abortion Care Access Act, which has been passed by the House of Delegates, would eliminate the requirement that only physicians perform abortions.
Frederick County Delegate Karen Lewis Young (D) is one of the co-sponsors of this legislation. In addition to doctors, she says the legislation says abortions could be performed by “nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, license certified midwives and physicians assistants.” She says thee elimination of the requirement that only physicians perform abortions has the support of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology., and its Maryland chapter.
The measure would also require the Maryland Department of Health to establish an abortion care critical training fund and require the Governor to include in his annual budget bill $3,500,000 for this program.
Abortion is a hot button issue with strong opinions expressed by both opponents and supporters. Delegate Lewis Young is a member of the Health and Government Operations Committee, and she says that feeling was evident during a hearing on the bill which lasted four hours. The testimony boiled down to when life begins, and whether a woman should have the right of choice. “Should a woman be able to choose, whether or not, she wants an abortion? Isn’t that a decision between the woman and her doctors and her family, and, if she prefers, her religious adviser,” says Lewis Young.
As for her personal views on abortion, “I think a woman has a right to choose and that’s a decision she makes with all of the above mentioned individuals in her life,” says Lewis Young.
In a related issue, the General Assembly is dealing with a bill which proposes an amendment to the Maryland Constitution to establish an individual’s reproductive liberty, and the state is prohibited form denying, burdening or abridging that right unless there’s a compelling reason.
If it passes, the voters would decide on this amendment as a referendum during the general election in November, 2022.
The bill is sponsored by Speaker Adrienne Jones. Delegate Lewis Young says this amendment would protect abortion rights if the US Supreme Court struck down the Roe vs. Wade ruling. “I think that is probably one of the factors. Also, giving what’s going on in Texas and Mississippi, I think that our leadership saw the writing on the wall, and wanted to keep this protection,” she says.
By Kevin McManus