On Saturday, the Maryland legislature overrode Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto and enacted the Abortion Care Access Act (or ACAA, H.B. 937), a historic law that ensures abortion is accessible for Marylanders regardless of their incomes. The ACAA is an achievement for advocates and a commitment from the state to protect abortion access — at a time when it is being attacked across the country.
When the law takes effect on July 1, the ACAA will:
- extend full abortion coverage in all Maryland Medicaid programs, reforming a gap that forced many Medicaid enrollees to pay out-of-pocket for abortion;
- explicitly require abortion coverage in private insurance plans — including those offered on the state health exchange — without cost-sharing, to ensure people can use their insurance for essential care;
- expand qualified abortion providers in Maryland to include advanced practice clinicians such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants, aligning state law with clinical evidence; and
- establish the nation’s first state fund for abortion training to prepare the state’s health care workforce to meet the increased need for care as access contracts in other states.
These changes come at a critical juncture for reproductive freedom. In June, the Supreme Court is expected to rule in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization — a challenge to a Mississippi abortion law that could overturn Roe v. Wade. If that happens, 26 states will likely move quickly to ban abortion, leaving more than 36 million women and other people who can become pregnant without access. Maryland, with its historic protections for abortion rights, will continue to be a key access point for people forced to leave their home states for care. With the ACAA, the state will be better prepared to care for its neighbors.
Statement from Karen J. Nelson and Dr. Laura Meyers, co-executive directors, Planned Parenthood Advocates for DC, Maryland, and Northern Virginia:
As an organization in the region fighting for people to be able to make their own reproductive choices, we know that a right means nothing without access. Now, thanks to the bold leadership in the Senate by Sen. Delores Kelley and in the House of Delegates by Del. Ariana Kelly and the efforts of advocates from across the state, abortion will be more equitable and accessible in Maryland. With Roe v. Wade under threat like never before, the Abortion Care Access Act will ready Maryland for a changing abortion landscape and will help ensure that providers will be able to serve all in need of care.
Statement from Alexis McGill Johnson, president, Planned Parenthood Action Fund:
This is what it looks like when reproductive health champions in office stand up for their constituents. Every state has a role to play in safeguarding abortion access — and with the Abortion Care Access Act, Maryland established itself as a national leader in protecting reproductive freedom. Not only have legislators ensured that the people of Maryland can access care when they need it, but they’ve ensured that others who turn to Maryland providers for care can, too. This law could not have come soon enough. With abortion access under fire, we need policymakers nationwide to follow Maryland’s example and step up for reproductive freedom.