Md. Lawmakers Join Legislators From Across U.S. Vowing to Protect Abortion Rights

    On the 46th anniversary of the Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision Tuesday, which legalized abortion in the U.S., nine Maryland lawmakers (and one ex-lawmaker) added their names to a manifesto signed by 326 state legislators from around the country, reaffirming their commitment to protecting abortion rights. The lawmakers wrote that they have an “obligation” to fight efforts to erode abortion rights, and to work to expand them where possible.

    “While abortion has been legal for 46 years, anti-abortion politicians have already pushed abortion out of reach for poor women, young people, and people of color by enacting more than one thousand state-level restrictions in that time,” the legislators wrote in their roles as members of the Reproductive Freedom Council, an arm of the State Innovation Exchange.

    “States have a choice. We can align with those who wish to take us backwards and criminalize a health care procedure that nearly one in four women will receive in her lifetime, or we can rise to reclaim our government for the people and in pursuit of gender, racial, and economic justice, including reproductive health care and rights for all.”

    The Maryland signatories were: state Sen. Cheryl C. Kagan (D-Montgomery) and Dels. Shelly Hettleman (D-Baltimore County), Ariana B. Kelly (D-Montgomery), Robbyn Lewis (D-Baltimore City), Karen Lewis Young (D-Frederick), Brooke E. Lierman (D-Baltimore City), David Moon (D-Montgomery), Pamela Queen (D-Montgomery) and Jheanelle Wilkins (D-Montgomery). Former Del. Ana Sol-Gutierrez (D-Montgomery) also signed.

    House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) has vowed to bring forward a measure this legislative session asking voters to approve a constitutional amendment enshrining abortion rights in the state. An amendment would prohibit the state from passing laws banning abortion, even if the Supreme Court eventually overturns Roe.

    The measure, if passed by the legislature, would likely go before voters in the 2020 general election.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.