Maryland will pour $3.5 million each year into training people who aren’t medical doctors to perform abortions after lawmakers overturned Republican Gov. Larry Hogan’s Friday veto.
The training program is part of a bill that eliminates a ban on abortions performed by people who aren’t doctors and requires most private health insurance providers to cover abortion procedures. The legislature overrode Hogan’s veto of the bill on Saturday.
Nurse practitioners, midwives, nurse-midwives, and physicians assistants will be allowed to perform abortions in Maryland starting July 1.
“House Bill 937 endangers the health and lives of women by allowing non-physicians to perform abortions,” Hogan wrote in his Friday veto letter. “The bill risks lowering the high standard of reproductive health care services received by women in Maryland.”
“These procedures are complex and can, and often do, result in significant complications that require the attention of a licensed physician,” he added.
Maryland state lawmaker Joseline Peña-Melnyk, a vocal supporter of the legislation, characterized the legislature’s veto override as a means of protecting public health officials from political influence. (RELATED: Court Throws Out Maryland’s Congressional Maps Over Partisan Gerrymandering)
“That this legislation is necessary is an unfortunate reflection on the undue political influence we have seen in our public health policy,” she said in a speech to the legislature. “Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, public health officials have increasingly become political targets. They have experienced retaliation from elected officials.”
Maryland is the latest of several states expanding abortion access, including Colorado, which recently legalized abortion up to birth.
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