We run a lot of stories about egregious anti-abortion bills, so I thought it would be a nice change of pace to highlight the biggest change to Maryland’s abortion laws in 30 years, which bucks the trend of restrictive red state "heartbeat" laws. Statehouse lawmakers passed a bill yesterday that would expand who could perform abortions and forbid most insurers from charging patients out-of-pocket costs. Via the Washington Post:
The abortion-access legislation, passed by Democrats on a party-line vote, is one of a handful of contentious bills General Assembly leaders suspect might provoke a veto from Gov. Larry Hogan (R).
The Democratic-controlled legislature is rushing its priorities on abortion, climate change, paid family leave and gun control, among others, to Hogan’s desk by Friday so they would have time to override him before they are required to adjourn April 11.
With an election in November, it marks Democrats’ only opportunity to override the governor’s policy choices.
Since Hogan seems to be positioning himself as a moderate Republican to run for president in 2024, there might not even be a veto. (Of course, he may decide to play the part of a hardliner to get past the Republican primary.) I guess we'll see soon.
This bill would follow the lead of 14 other states to allow physician assistants, midwives and nurse practitioners, as well as other properly trained medical providers, perform abortion procedures.
It also budgets $3.5 million to train providers who may have attended medical schools in other states that do not offer such education. It would also force insurance companies to cover the procedure without co-pays or deductibles.