A year ago, both pro- and anti-abortion groups were alarmed by a leaked draft of a U.S. Supreme Court opinion that may spell the end of federal abortion rights under Roe v. Wade. The judgment was made official in June, and it is now up to the legislators of each states to establish their own policies on abortion.
Now in the current day, Maryland’s Democratic governor, Wes Moore, has signed a package of laws into law to protect women’s access to abortion services in the state. Despite the Supreme Court’s apparent move to pull back Americans’ rights and the fact that numerous states have enacted limitations on abortion, Moore highlighted that Maryland would always remain a sanctuary for abortion access and rights.
The governor has signed a number of important measures, including one that would let voters alter the state constitution to guarantee the right to contraception, abortion, and other methods of family planning. House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones has sponsored House Bill 705 for the previous two years, and Senate President Bill Ferguson has signed on as a co-sponsor this year. The amendment will be up for a vote in the 2024 midterm elections, and its passage will need a simple majority.
In addition, the governor signed S.B. 859/H.R. 808, which shields from legal action doctors who help women from other states obtain abortions. Senator William C. Smith Jr. and Representative Nicole Williams sponsored these legislation in the House of Representatives.
Other abortion-related laws include safeguards for patients’ confidentiality and the mandate that 4-year public institutions provide reproductive health services or connect patients to clinics that do.
TRANS HEALTH EQUITY ACT
The Trans Health Equity Act, which broadens Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming healthcare in accordance with clinical standards, was also signed into law by Governor Moore with laws pertaining to abortion. Treatments such as hormone replacement treatment, puberty-delaying medication, voice therapy, and gender-affirming surgery are covered. Mary Washington, a senator, and Anne Kaiser, a delegate, were the primary sponsors of the bill.
In addition, as of July 1, sales to adults for recreational use of cannabis will be legal according to recently signed emergency legislation. The number of cannabis licenses is another target of the legislation.
Also supported by senators from both parties, Governor Moore signed a package of laws expanding access to treatment for mental health conditions. These proposals hope to enhance treatment through creating community clinics, reforming reimbursement systems, keeping telemedicine policies in place, promoting collaborative care models, increasing access to in-home mental health services for children and adolescents, and establishing a behavioral health commission.
Finally, Senate Bill 601/House Bill 814 continues a pilot program that gives state assistance to cut healthcare expenditures for young people. In an effort to streamline the health insurance enrollment process for low-income Marylanders, Senate Bill 26/House Bill 111 would have SNAP recipients who are not already registered in Medicaid enrolled in Medicaid immediately. Maryland has recently passed laws that show they care about issues like reproductive rights, healthcare access, and mental health.