Maryland Gov. Hogan Vetoes Bill to Expand Abortion Access

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan on Friday vetoed a measure that would expand abortion access in the state by ending a restriction that only doctors can provide and requiring most insurance plans to cover abortion care without 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 bill “jeopardizes the health and lives of women by allowing people who they are not doctors perform abortions.”

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

Democrats, who control the General Assembly, passed the legislation with enough votes to override the veto before the scheduled adjournment of the legislative session at midnight Monday.

Supporters say Maryland does not have enough abortion providers for the state’s needs. They have pointed out that many counties do not have a single provider. The bill would remove a legal restriction that prevents nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and physician assistants from performing abortions. It would create an abortion care training program and requires $3.5 million in state funding annually.

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

“These two bills are an example of legislative malpractice and misdirected resources resulting in partisan politics; however, I will allow them to become law in the hope that they will spark further deliberation and discussion on this critically important topic,” Hogan wrote.

The measure aimed at curbing climate change would accelerate Maryland’s current goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions from 40% of 2006 levels to 60% by 2031. It also sets a goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2045 in the state. That means at least as much carbon would be 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 measure seeking to expand access to abortion comes at a time when the conservative majority on the United States Supreme Court is weighing whether to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 ruling that barred states from banning abortion.

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

That would force many women to travel to other states for abortions, prompting Democratic-led legislatures like Maryland to pass new laws to prepare for them.