Lawmakers in Maryland, U.S., on Saturday, April 9, voted to override the state governor’s veto of a bill allowing any health care professional to perform an abortion.
Republican Governor Larry Hogan on Friday vetoed the bill, HB 937, known as the Access to Abortion Care Act, which had passed both chambers last month with the support of Democratic votes.
According to Hogan, such legislation risks reducing the high level of reproductive health care services women in Maryland receive. He explains that abortions are complex interventions, often resulting in “significant medical complications that require the attention of a licensed physician.”
He further stated that “the only impact this bill would have on women’s reproductive rights would be to roll back standards for women’s health care and safety.”
The bill establishes the “Maryland Department of Health Abortion Care Clinical Training Program,” which amends existing law regarding the requirements for who can perform abortions in the State.
Thus, it would allow health care professionals, including nurse practitioners, midwives, physician assistants, and physicians, to perform abortions.
According to Fox News, the legislation requires the governor to allocate $3.5 million in the annual budget to fund the program.
According to the bill, the program is also intended to “expand the number of health care professionals with abortion care training and increase the racial and ethnic diversity among health care professionals with abortion care training.”
The bill’s primary sponsor, Adriana Kelley, told CBS News that the legislation “makes sure that people have access to care, particularly people of color, particularly low-income people, particularly rural people.”
“We know that physician-only restrictions exacerbate health disparities, and we are trying to reduce health disparities in the state of Maryland with this bill,” Kelley added.
On Saturday, in a 90-46 vote, members of the Maryland House of Representatives chose to reverse Governor Hogan’s decision, while the Senate decided to change it with a 29-15 vote.
Following the vote, House Democratic Delegate Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk wrote on Twitter, “Thank you so much to my House colleagues for voting to override the Governor’s veto on my legislation to protect our public health officials from undue political influence.” “It is imperative that we guide our policy by science,” she added.
Meanwhile, Haven Shoemaker, House Republican minority leader delegate, said this legislation is about “the most radical expansion of abortion in Maryland’s history in a state that already has some of the most liberal abortion laws in the country.”