The Maryland legislature recently passed a bill that would vastly expand access to abortions and lower the bar for when they can be performed and even who can perform them. It also mandates that nearly all insurance plans in the state cover abortions at no cost. When the bill reached Governor Larry Hogan’s desk, he vetoed it. That didn’t slow down the Democrats, however. Since they control nearly all of the state legislature, they overrode the veto, setting up the law to take effect in July of this year. Maryland already had some of the most permissive abortion laws in the country, so this isn’t much of a surprise. The legislature is trying to lock itself in on this subject in case Roe is overturned at the Supreme Court this year. Hogan’s motivations might be a bit more complicated, however. (CBS Baltimore)
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a measure to expand access to abortion in the state was overridden on Saturday by the General Assembly, which is controlled by Democrats.
The state will end a restriction that only physicians can provide abortions. The new law will enable nurse practitioners, nurse midwives and physician assistants to provide them with training. It creates an abortion care training program and requires $3.5 million in state funding annually. It also requires most insurance plans to cover abortions without cost.
Del. Emily Shetty said she was supporting the measure on the House floor as a mother who had experienced a high-risk pregnancy. She also described being a sexual assault survivor in college and the difficulties she experienced “with the weight of what had happened after that incident.”
Hogan’s justification for the veto was fairly straightforward and it’s one that anyone who is legitimately interested in keeping women safe would likely support. The bill opens up the practice of abortion to be performed by many people who are not even doctors. These would include nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and physician assistants, among others. Hogan said that these changes would “endanger the health and lives of women by allowing non-physicians to perform abortions.”
This isn’t some crazy position to take. Abortion is not some superficial procedure like getting your ears pierced. It’s actual surgery that can sometimes go wrong. And when it goes wrong it can go very wrong indeed, with the patient potentially dying if the surgeon isn’t experienced in what to do during a worst-case scenario. And yet, in the name of proving that Maryland will provide hot and cold running abortions, they will now allow people with no formal surgical training to perform the procedure if they take some “free” classes that the state offers.
Adding insult to injury, one Democrat defended the bill by playing the race card. She said the bill “is making sure that people have access to care, particularly people of color, particularly low-income people, particularly rural people.” In other words, if you live in a wealthy area and have a good healthcare plan, you can have an actual surgeon take care of you. But if you happen to be Black, poor, or both, we’ll just send over a midwife with a scalpel and hope for the best.
Making matters worse, the bill will additionally drive up the cost of health insurance and the charges will be handed to the taxpayers. You can’t just tell insurers that they have to provide a specific medicine or procedure for free and expect them to suck up the losses. Nothing mandated by the government is ever actually “free.” The insurance companies will simply raise other prices to make up for the shortfall while the taxpayers will be on the hook for the training courses.
I was initially curious about why Hogan decided to bother vetoing the bill to begin with. After all, he’s signed plenty of liberal legislation in the past that would make conservatives rip out their hair. That’s always been a given with Hogan. As a Republican, you don’t keep approval ratings in the sixties and seventies for years on end in a state as blue as Maryland without signing off on a lot of the left’s agenda.
But Hogan still fancies himself as a potential presidential candidate in 2024 for some reason, foolishly passing up a chance to run for a Senate seat he probably could have won, stealing yet another slot from the Democrats. With that in mind, he’s probably realizing what his very blue reputation will portend, heading into what will be a very red primary fight and figuring that he’d better find some progressive legislation that he can veto to show what a “fighter” he is. Let us know how that works out for you, Governor.