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Moore announces reproductive health access expansions amid uncertain U.S. abortion landscape

Gov. Wes Moore (D). Photo by Bryan P. Sears.

The Moore administration announced over $15 million in grant awards and a budget proposal aimed to improve reproductive health care and abortion access across Maryland, according to a news release from the governor’s office Monday.

The funding announcement comes during an election year when voters will have the opportunity, on the November ballot, to vote to amend the state’s Constitution to enshrine Marylanders’ right to terminate or continue a pregnancy. A majority vote will decide the issue.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments, beginning in March, on a case that could curtail the use of mifepristone, which is part of a two-drug regimen used for both medication abortions and miscarriage care.

Gov. Wes Moore (D), along with nearly two dozen other Democratic governors, signed a brief to the judges urging the Supreme Court to uphold access to the medical abortion pill.

The abortion-focused funding announcement continues the governor’s effort to ensure access to abortion in Maryland.

“Access to reproductive health care is a fundamental right,” Moore said in a written statement Monday. “Today, we take another big step forward to protect the health, well-being, and rights of Marylanders – and we will keep working together to ensure that Maryland remains a safe haven for reproductive care.”

The administration highlighted two funding initiatives to expand reproductive health programs in Maryland.

It said that the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) will be awarded $10.6 million in grant funding to administer the state’s Abortion Care Clinical Training Program.

The program was established in 2022 through the Abortion Care Access Act, which legislators managed to enact without the approval of then-Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Hogan withheld millions in state funds, which included $3.5 million to cover the abortion care provider training, among other programs. On Moore’s first day as governor in 2023, he released the withheld funds, allowing the Abortion Care Access Act to continue.

According to the Maryland Department of Health, UMB was selected after a competitive application process, and the funding is available through 2026.

As the grant recipient, UMB will be responsible for helping to expand the number of health care workers with abortion care training and for increasing ethnic diversity among providers who have experience with abortion care.

The Maryland Department of Health explained in a written statement that UMB will “initially conduct a statewide needs assessment to understand the inequities in access to abortion care in Maryland, develop and coordinate a robust statewide training system in collaboration with partners, operate the hospital-based clinical site, and distribute program funds to participating organizations.”

Participating organizations include Planned Parenthood of Maryland, to operate a community-based clinical site, and the National Abortion Federation, to provide technical assistance to develop the statewide training system.

“Our training will target a major public health problem of abortion care training and abortion care access in our state,” said Jessica Lee, an associate professor of medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, in a written statement.

“We will specifically address training clinicians in underserved areas and rural areas in Maryland to help reverse health inequities and to provide reproductive health care services to those in need,” Lee said.

In addition, the Moore administration announced a $5 million budget proposal for the Maryland Medicaid Family Planning Program and Reproductive Health Program for the next fiscal year. The funding will need approval from the House and Senate during the 2024 legislative session.

The funds would be distributed through grants to abortion clinic providers “to fund non-service based expenditures, such as updating their electronic medical records, providing infrastructure enhancements,” according to the press release.

The additional funding also would be used to increase reimbursement rates for Medicaid eligible providers of medical and procedural abortions, according to an email from the Maryland Department of Health.


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Moore announces reproductive health access expansions amid uncertain U.S. abortion landscape