Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan vetoes expansion of abortion access

Governor of Maryland Larry Hogan on Friday vetoed a measure that would expand access to abortion in the state by removing a restriction that only doctors can grant them and that most insurance plans must cover abortion care at no cost.

The Republican governor, who is not ruling out running for the White House in 2024 after his second term ends early next year, wrote that the law “endangers women’s health and lives by allowing non-physicians to perform abortions.” .

“The bill risks lowering the high standard of reproductive health care for women in Maryland,” wrote Hogan, who previously said he personally opposes abortion, although he believes it is state law. “These procedures are complex and can, and often do, result in significant medical complications that require the attention of a licensed physician.”

Democrats, who control the General Assembly, passed the bill with enough votes to override the veto ahead of Monday’s planned break in the legislative session at midnight.

Abortion Maryland
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan speaks to reporters after signing a measure to pass a new congressional card for the state’s eight-seat U.S. House of Representatives Monday, April 4, 2022.

Brian Witte/AP

Advocates say Maryland does not have enough abortion providers for the state’s needs. You pointed out that many counties don’t have a single provider. The bill would remove a legal restriction preventing nurses, midwives and physician assistants from performing abortions. It would create an abortion care education program and requires $3.5 million annually in government funding.

Separately, the governor decided that he would not veto or sign a measure setting accelerated greenhouse gas reduction goals for Maryland and taking a variety of steps to meet them. The measure will become law without Hogan’s signature. The governor also said that a bill requiring the state pension and pension system to consider certain climate risks when managing assets of the system will go into effect without his signature.

“These two bills are an example of poor legislative practice and misallocated resources leading to partisan politics. However, I will allow them to be enacted in the hope that they will stimulate future reflection and discussion on this vitally important issue,” Hogan wrote.

The action to slow climate change would accelerate Maryland’s current goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 40% to 60% of 2006 levels by 2031. A goal is also set to achieve carbon neutrality in the state by 2045. This means that at least as much carbon is removed from the atmosphere as is emitted.

The bill includes a variety of provisions to reduce emissions. For example, it would increase the state’s electric vehicle fleet and reduce emissions from large buildings.

The move to expand access to abortion comes at a time when the conservative majority in the US Supreme Court is considering whether Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that barred states from banning abortion should be overturned.

If that happens, at least 26 states are likely to either ban abortion outright or severely limit access, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization that advocates for abortion rights.

That would force many women to travel to other states to have abortions, and would force Democrat-led legislatures like Maryland’s to pass new legislation to prepare for it.

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