ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Friday vetoed a measure that would expand abortion access in the state by ending a restriction that only doctors can provide them and requiring that most insurance plans cover abortion care free of charge.
The Republican governor, who is not ruling out a run for the White House in 2024 after his second term ends early next year, wrote that the bill “endangers the health and lives of women by allowing non-physicians to perform abortions”.
“The bill risks lowering the high standard of reproductive health care services received by women in Maryland,” wrote Hogan, who has previously said he personally opposes abortion despite considers it to be established law in the state. “These procedures are complex and can and often do lead to significant medical complications that require the attention of a licensed physician.”
Democrats, who control the General Assembly, passed the legislation with enough votes to override the veto before the legislative session was scheduled to adjourn at midnight Monday.
Supporters say Maryland does not have enough abortion providers for the state’s needs. They pointed out that many counties do not have a single vendor. The bill would remove a legal restriction preventing nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and medical assistants from performing abortions. It would create an abortion care training program and require public funding of $3.5 million a year.
Separately, the governor has decided that he will not veto or sign a measure that sets accelerated greenhouse gas reduction goals for Maryland and takes a wide variety of steps to achieve them. The measure will become law without Hogan’s signature. The governor also said a bill requiring the public pension and retirement system to consider certain climate risks when managing system assets will go into effect without his signature.
“These two bills are an example of poor legislative practice and misguided resources resulting in partisan politics; however, I will allow them to become law in the hope that they will spark future deliberation and discussion on this critically important issue,” Hogan wrote.
The measure to slow 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 the goal of reaching the carbon neutral by 2045 in the state. This means that at least as much carbon would be removed from the atmosphere as is emitted.
The bill includes various provisions aimed at reducing 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 on the U.S. Supreme Court is debating whether to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 decision that prohibited states from banning abortion.
If they do, at least 26 states are likely to outright ban abortion or severely limit access, according to the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization that supports human rights. ‘abortion.
That would force many women to travel to other states to get abortions, prompting Democratic-led legislatures like Maryland’s to pass new laws to prepare for it.
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