ANNAPOLIS, MD — Today, Governor Wes Moore, Lt. Governor Aruna Miller, Senate President Bill Ferguson, House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones and state legislators announced a comprehensive reproductive rights legislative package, taking the first steps towards enshrining reproductive rights in the Maryland constitution. The bill package will provide concrete protections for Marylanders’ reproductive freedoms, protect private medical information, and expand access to reproductive healthcare services.
“As long as I am Governor, our home will be a safe haven for abortion access,” said Governor Moore. “While some states have decided to move toward restricting reproductive rights, I can assure you, we will protect them.”
“Governor Moore is not going to leave this to chance; he will work day and night to protect reproductive rights in Maryland,” said Lt. Governor Miller. “These bills will solidify the future of reproductive freedoms in Maryland.”
Following the Dobbs v. Jackson decision, the Supreme Court no longer recognizes that the fundamental right to privacy protects a person’s ability to make their own reproductive decisions, which leaves Maryland’s statutory right to abortion vulnerable.
“In a post-Roe world, Maryland has a responsibility to lead and become a beacon of freedom on the national stage,” said Senate President Ferguson. “Enshrining reproductive freedom in the Maryland Constitution is the right thing to do for future generations.”
“Enshrining reproductive rights in our constitution sends a strong message that reproductive care should never be up for debate or used as a bargaining tool,” said Speaker Jones. “Our legislative package not only underscores our commitment to protecting reproductive freedom but makes Maryland a safe haven for reproductive liberty.”
The legislative package includes four core bills:
The Right to Reproductive Freedom (HB705/SB798): enables a ballot measure to constitutionally enshrine the rights of Marylanders to reproductive freedom.
Reproductive Health Protections (HB808/SB859): protects patients, providers, and people supporting out-of-state patients seeking reproductive health care in Maryland from criminal, civil, and administrative actions from restrictive states.
Reproductive Healthcare at Higher Education Institutions (HB477/SB341): requires Maryland’s public higher education institutions to develop reproductive health access plans to provide or refer for the full range of reproductive health and wrap-around support services. The legislation also requires campuses to provide 24-hour access to contraceptives.
Privacy Protections for Reproductive Health Records (HB812/SB786): provides additional privacy protections for medical records to reduce the risk of criminal prosecution or civil litigation for out-of-state patients seeking reproductive care in Maryland.
“What is happening nationally could happen here in Maryland and we want to make sure we are protecting our healthcare workers and patients,” said Senator Shelly Hettleman. “Ensuring personal information is kept in the strictest of confidence is a top priority.”
These laws will prevent states that have banned or restricted abortion from intimidating those seeking abortion care and protect volunteers and health care providers. The legislation also further expands access to reproductive care by removing barriers for many students – those without transportation, family support, or facing the trauma of sexual assault.
“In this challenging political climate, threats to abortion rights exist even in safe states like Maryland,” said Delegate Ariana Kelly, Vice Chair of the House Health and Government Operations Committee. “Our legislation will protect patients and providers, and make abortion a legal right and widely accessible for Marylanders who need this care.”
As of January 25, 2023, fourteen states have near total abortion bans, and some of those states have enacted laws that create liability for anyone assisting their residents in obtaining abortion care even in states where abortion remains legal.