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Maryland’s “Reproductive Freedom” Constitutional Amendment DOES NOT Change Marylanders' Abortion Rights

Updated: Jun 6

“Woman/Female” is Omitted and Parental Rights Are Stripped?

In November, Maryland voters will decide by a simple majority whether to amend the state constitution with the Reproductive Freedom Amendment. Health Not Harm opposes this bill, and during the RWBC meeting on May 18, Deborah Brocato from Health Not Harm Maryland explained why.

Ms. Brocato has thoroughly examined the new amendment, concluding that it poses risks of "reproductive harm and loss of parental rights." She outlined the historical steps Maryland has taken to reduce parental authority over their children's health decisions.

1. 1991 Maryland Freedom of Choice Act: This act granted abortion rights to Marylanders with clear, precise language using the terms "woman" and "terminate a pregnancy." It codified abortion rights in Maryland law. The new constitutional amendment does not change these existing rights.

 2. 2021 Mental Health Access Initiative: This initiative allowed 12-year-olds to seek mental health care without parental consent.

3. 2022 Abortion Care Act: This act removed the requirement for a physician to perform abortions. It allows the state or insurance companies to cover abortion services, and the decision-making authority lies with the abortion provider, not the minor's parents.

4. 2023 Trans Health Equity Act: This act mandated Medicaid to cover drugs and surgeries for gender-affirming care, including for minors.

The actual amendment text is already decided and will not be changed. The only text that is not decided yet is what the ballot question will say.

“That every PERSON, as a central component of an INDIVIDUAL’S rights to liberty and equality, has the fundamental right to REPRODUCTIVE FREEDOM, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO the ability to make and effectuate decisions to prevent, continue, or end one’s own pregnancy. THE STATE MAY NOT, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, DENY, BURDEN, OR ABRIDGE THE RIGHT unless justified by a compelling state interest achieved by the least restrictive means.”

All Requested Changes to the Amendment rejected by legislators in the 2024 Maryland Session:

- Replace "person/individual" with "woman"

- Replace “reproductive freedom” with “abortion”

- Include minimum age and parental consent requirements

- Match ballot language to amendment language

If this bill was about abortion rights, why were these amendments to the text of the bill rejected? The answer lies in an open letter to Marylanders on the website. It reads as follows:

“Maryland politicians, influenced by well-funded out-of-state special interests, have proposed this dangerous and extreme amendment that puts women and children at risk. Whether you consider yourself "pro-life" or "pro-choice," the "Reproductive Freedom" Amendment goes too far.

The "Reproductive Freedom" ballot question is intentionally vague. It is not merely about abortion rights, which are already fully protected under state law. Instead, the amendment targets children for potentially dangerous elective procedures, including experimental gender transition procedures and sterilization, and threatens to eliminate parental rights to make crucial medical decisions for their minor children.

"The amendment states that any 'individual,' regardless of age or gender, has an unlimited right to alter their reproductive anatomy. State lawmakers refused to add parental consent requirements for children under 18..." continue reading the open letter here.  

This bill is clearly an assault on our freedom of speech and parental rights. Please Vote NO in November 2024.

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