Abortion Debate Turns to Fight Over Funding in Maryland

A new law will allow physician assistants, nurse practitioners and midwives to perform abortions, but there is not currently funding to train them

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A new law in Maryland allows the state to expand its pool of abortion providers this summer, but money for the training they need won’t come for more than a year.

In April, Maryland lawmakers passed the Abortion Care Access Act and voted to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto. The measure says physician assistants, nurse practitioners and midwives can perform abortions.

The bill takes effect in July. But the money needed to train those providers isn’t due until 2024.

With the Supreme Court poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, some lawmakers say that funding is needed now.

"If as many as 26 states ban or severely restrict abortion, we know that that means patients will be coming from out of state into Maryland," Democratic Del. Ariana Kelly, who represents Montgomery County, told News4.

Hogan was asked Tuesday whether he’d release the funds early. He says he won’t budge.

"What this bill did was to lower the quality of care and allow people who are not doctors to perform abortions. It was not in the budget. There is no money to be released," Hogan said.


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Dr. Carolyn Sufrin, an OBGYN and Physicians for Reproductive Health fellow, says a delay could leave the state unable to meet the needs of patients.

"So, Maryland is kind of behind the 8 ball already, even before this impending threat and likely possibility of Roe being overturned. So, this already needed to happen," Sufrin said.

Sufrin says if funding for training can be secured, it will be used immediately.

"There are people who want to be trained who need to be trained and can be trained to provide this safe and necessary healthcare," Sufrin said.

Kelly said public pressure is the best hope to get funding.

She knows both sides are deeply entrenched but believes this is an opportunity for some bipartisanship.

"Whatever side of the abortion debate you are on, I guarantee you there is consensus that if someone has chosen to have an abortion, we don’t want them to have to wait an extra 6 or 8 weeks. That's in nobody’s best interest," she said.

If governor Hogan wont be swayed, the fight will likely drag on until November, when the state elects a new governor.

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