Maryland lawmakers voted this weekend to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill that would allow health practitioners other than doctors — including nurse practitioners, midwives and physician assistants — to perform abortions.
Members of Maryland House voted 90 to 46 on Saturday to overturn the governor’s decision, while members of the state Senate voted 29 to 15.
Hogan is a Republican, while the majority of both state houses are Democrats. The bill will become law and come into force on July 1.
House Bill 937, known as the Abortion Care Access Act, states that “qualified providers” include those whose medical licenses or certifications include performing abortions.
“Thank you so much to my colleagues in the House for voting to override the Governor’s veto on my legislation to protect our public health officials from undue political influence,” said Democratic House Delegate Joseline A. Pena-Melnyk on Twitter. “It is imperative that we guide our policy through science.”
In his veto, Hogan wrote that “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 medical complications. that require the attention of a licensed physician.”
Bill seeks to racially diversify pool of providers performing abortions
The bill also establishes the Abortion Care Clinical Education Program, in which the state must contract an organization to develop abortion care education programs at at least two community sites.
The bill provides $3.5 million for the program each year.
The goal of the program is “to increase the number of healthcare professionals with training in abortion care and to increase racial and ethnic diversity among healthcare professionals with training in abortion care”, indicates the bill.
The Maryland Department of Health may not disclose who participates in the program. The contracted organization, which must be nonprofit and have previous experience coordinating abortion programs, must submit an annual report to the health department.
Providers cannot perform abortions on minors, although exceptions apply
In most cases, a doctor or other qualified provider cannot perform an abortion on an unmarried minor without notifying the minor’s parent or guardian.
However, a medical provider can circumvent parental authorization if the minor does not live with their parent or guardian and “a reasonable effort to give notice to a parent or guardian fails,” the bill says.
The procedure may also be approved if the care provider has reason to believe that the minor would be abused after notifying a parent, if the minor is “mature and capable of giving informed consent to an abortion”, or if requesting permission is simply not in the “best interests” of the minor, according to the bill.
At what stage of pregnancy can providers perform an abortion?
The bill does not specify how many weeks after an abortion can no longer be performed, but it defines a “viable” pregnancy as one in which a medical professional determines “there is a reasonable probability of survival. duration of the fetus outside the womb”.
The bill states that the state cannot interfere with a woman’s decision to have an abortion before the fetus is viable, or at any other time during a woman’s pregnancy if an abortion is deemed necessary. to save a woman’s life or health, or if the baby “has a genetic defect or a serious malformation or abnormality.”
Will abortions in Maryland be covered by insurance?
Eligible insurers under the bill are insurers, nonprofits, and health maintenance organizations that provide labor and delivery coverage under government health policies or contracts. ‘State.
Insurers that fall within those parameters must cover abortions without requiring a deductible, coinsurance, co-payment or “any other cost-sharing requirement,” according to the bill.
They must also inform consumers about covered abortion services by explicitly using “abortion care” in their language.
Insurers that do not qualify include multistate plans that do not provide abortion coverage, a high-deductible plan, or an organization that is eligible for an abortion coverage exclusion.