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Maryland After Roe Is Extinguished: ‘It’s Going to Be a Different World’

6/24/2022 | Josh Kurtz, Bruce DePuyt, Nene Narh-Mensah

Maryland Matters

A special session?

The House has twice launched the idea of a constitutional amendment to codify abortion rights, in 2018 and this year, but both times Senate leaders resisted. Now it is a top priority for several Democrats, including the men running for governor.

Jones reiterated that point in a statement Friday.

“It is a dark day for our country,” she said. “The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will put women’s lives in jeopardy across America. Here in Maryland, access to the full range of reproductive health services will not be limited by this decision. I will continue to put the full weight of my office behind a Maryland constitutional amendment to protect women’s healthcare and reproductive liberty. The recent decisions of the Supreme Court are dragging America backwards. We cannot and will not give up. Now is the time to mobilize for the country we all deserve.”

Earlier this week, Jones and Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) issued joint statements condemning Thursday’s Supreme Court decision on a gun rights case, and on calls to hold a special legislative session to discuss a proposed gas tax holiday. But they notably went their own way when it came to reacting to the Roe v. Wade verdict.

Ferguson’s statement said in part: “In the weeks and months to come, women will likely come to Maryland seeking reproductive care in a State that understands the importance of the right to privacy and equality. While many may now question the future of reproductive rights in America, in Maryland, that right will always be protected and enshrined in State law. We will welcome those who seek care in our State.”

Some Democrats and abortion rights advocates are now pressing the presiding officers to schedule a special session to move the constitutional amendment on abortion rights and force Hogan to fund the training this year for abortion providers. That seems unlikely for now — though matters could change.

King and Siri reiterated the call at the rally in Wheaton Friday evening.

“If folks can jump up and down out there and call for a special legislative session for a gas tax holiday, we sure as hell can have one for our bodily autonomy,” said Siri, the head of the Maryland Women’s Law Center and former president of the state’s Planned Parenthood board.

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