A recently-leaked Supreme Court draft indicated the court would overturn the landmark abortion case of Roe v. Wade.
“This is not a drill,” said Karen Nelson, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Maryland, during a Montgomery County media briefing Wednesday.
Nelson said health centers and abortion care providers in Maryland are already seeing patients coming from Texas. She emphasized abortion care is and will remain legal in Maryland, however overturning Roe v. Wade can lead to access issues due to a shortage of trained providers, insurance coverage issues and other factors.
Jamie Swietlikowski, of the Maryland Affiliate for the American College of Nurse-Midwives, said the consequences of reversing Roe v. Wade will impact poor Americans and people of color at a disproportionate rate and will lead to more maternal deaths.
“In a time when Black maternal mortality rates have reached epidemic proportions, the increase in death toll will be disproportionately Black bodies,” Swietlikowski said.
“As we know, Black communities are over-policed and disproportionately arrested and incarcerated in our criminal justice system. As individual states are allowed to create new anti-abortion laws that criminalize the pursuit of basic reproductive healthcare, it will again be people of color who are disproportionately criminalized and incarcerated,” she said.
Both Swietlikowski and Nelson appreciated County Executive Marc Elrich’s Tuesday announcement of a $1 million fund to support access to abortion services.
During the briefing, Elrich urged Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan to release funding for abortion care training. Hogan has withheld $3.5 million in funding approved by the Maryland General Assembly, effectively delaying the training for a year, The Washington Post reported last week.
“Unfortunately, the governor is refusing to provide early funding,” Elrich said.
“When the legislation was passed, this potential sudden change in policy wasn’t imagined as happening as soon as next month. But that future apparently is now, and it would be appropriate for the governor to acknowledge the changing circumstances and to move things forward.”