BALTIMORE — On Friday the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the nation's landmark abortion case which has caused deep division among Americans.
Justice Samuel Alito wrote "Roe was also egregiously wrong and on a collision course with the Constitution from the day it was decided." Four fellow conservative justices, including Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, and Amy Coney Barrett joined the opinion.
The decision stemmed from a case in Mississippi, Dobbs v. Jackson, which sought to ban abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote a separate opinion stating that he would have upheld the Mississippi law, but would have stopped short of completely overturning Roe which is nearly half-a-century old.
A draft version of the opinion was leaked to the media weeks ago, but with the ruling now official individual states have the authority to determine whether or not a woman has the right to an abortion.
Currently, 13 different states have so-called trigger laws which automatically ban abortions now that the court has ruled.
Maryland is not one of them, as Roe was codified in state law more than 30 years ago.
The Maryland General Assembly actually expanded access to abortion care this past legislative session, when it overrode Governor Larry Hogan's veto of the Abortion Access Act.
Lawmakers also approved $3.5 million in the state budget to train other health practitioners throughout Maryland to perform abortions.
So far Hogan has not decided whether to release those funds.
Despite the ruling not having as much an impact on Maryland as other states, it has still drawn the ire of many who predict an influx of out-of-state residents traveling here to get an abortion.
According to ABC News, abortion is also protected in several states surrounding Maryland including New Jersey, Delaware, and New York.
However, neither Virginia or Pennsylvania have constitutional or statutory laws protecting abortion.
In West Virginia, a state constitutional amendment bars the protection of the right to an abortion.
Below is a list of full statements issued by Maryland's elected federal, state and local lawmakers.
House Speaker Adrienne Jones:
"It is a dark day for our country. The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade will put women’s lives in jeopardy across America. Here in Maryland, access to the full range of reproductive health services will not be limited by this decision. I will continue to put the full weight of my office behind a Maryland constitutional amendment to protect women’s healthcare and reproductive liberty. The recent decisions of the Supreme Court are dragging America backwards. We cannot and will not give up. Now is the time to mobilize for the country we all deserve."
Senate President Bill Ferguson:
"Today is a distressing day for Americans, especially women, as we witness the willful degradation of a long-held right to reproductive freedom and further erosion of trust in our country's highest Court. We must now continue this fight at the State level. In the weeks and months to come, women will likely come to Maryland seeking reproductive care in a State that understands the importance of the right to privacy and equality. While many may now question the future of reproductive rights in America, in Maryland, that right will always be protected and enshrined in State law. We will welcome those who seek care in our State. The Maryland General Assembly, anticipating a potentially adverse decision by this Supreme Court, acted this year to expand access to abortion care in our State. After overriding the Governor's veto of the Abortion Access Act this session, the General Assembly ensured that Maryland women will still have timely access to care in the case that Maryland providers see increased out-of-state patient requests. We further provided $3.5 million in the State budget to train additional healthcare workers across the State to ensure equitable access to legal and safe reproductive care in Maryland. On July 1st, Governor Hogan has a choice of whether to release those funds for use this year. Given today's Supreme Court decision, I am absolutely certain he should."
Attorney General Brian Frosh:
“Today’s decision strips away the fundamental right of women to control their own bodies. Including in its sweep even survivors of abuse, rape, and incest, it robs all women of autonomy to make the most personal decisions about their health care. Its harms will have disproportionate impact on women of color and those of low income, many of whom already lack meaningful access to affordable health care of any kind. And even more broadly, this decision overturning 50 years of precedent also threatens the rights of all Americans to make private decisions about their lives without government interference. I am proud of my vote over 30 years ago to codify Roe v. Wade in state law, and I am proud of the work that our office has done since to protect and expand access to reproductive health care services across Maryland. We will continue to champion the rights of women to make their own health care decisions and to safeguard the right to privacy for all Marylanders.”
Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott:
"Today the court has taken aim at women and their right to make fundamental health choices about their own bodies. This decision is especially harmful for Black Women and Women of Color who already face disparate health challenges and barriers to care. The court got it absolutely wrong again today. Men have absolutely no place deciding what women do with their bodies. I promise to make sure Baltimore City is doing its part to maintain safe access to abortion services for our resident and those who come here seeking care. I call on my fellow mayors to do the same in their cities."
Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley:
“Today’s decision from the Supreme Court to overturn the long-standing precedent of Roe v. Wade, is a devastating blow to women’s rights. While none of us are surprised, we remain deeply disturbed by the Court’s willingness to overturn precedent and their contradictory position on state’s rights - shown in their decision today, versus their decision yesterday to override state’s rights on reasonable gun safety laws. I stand with all women today who are fighting this assault on their right to health care and privacy. I am grateful we have strong partners at every level in this fight. Because of their work, and the past work of our State Legislature, Maryland will remain a safe haven for women seeking reproductive choice. Maryland will continue to be a strongly pro-choice state, but we won’t walk away from supporting all women across America whose rights have been stripped away with one Supreme Court decision."
U.S. Senator Ben Cardin:
“The Supreme Court of the United States is supposed to be the last line of defense, protecting the rights of Americans and guaranteeing equal justice under the law for all. The highest court in the land, defenders of the Constitution, should never be the one deliberately taking away the rights of millions of people, knowing the dire consequences of putting them in the hands of state legislatures. Sadly, this is exactly what has happened this morning. Individuals in more than half the states now are in jeopardy, including 13 states with trigger laws that almost immediately end access to safe, legal abortions. Abortion is a standard part of health care. Bans, criminalization and bounty hunter laws, especially without exceptions even for rape and incest or the life of the mother, will not stop abortions. Abortions will continue in states like Maryland that respect individual privacy rights. Marylanders have already shown willingness to step up and provide access to care for those who cannot access it in their own state, but our medical systems will feel the weight of 26 states with contrary laws. Low-income families and those without the means to leave their homes and travel to other states, particularly including women of color, will be the most burdened."
U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen:
“Today’s outrageous ruling from the far-right packed Supreme Court jeopardizes the health of millions of women around our nation. The Supreme Court has thrown aside the Constitution and is instead forcing its ideological beliefs down the throats of the American people. This is a results-driven ruling, not a rule of law decision, and it undermines the Court’s legitimacy. This decision not only overturns the law of our land that has been in place for almost fifty years – it also flies directly in the face of the will of our country. The American people don’t want elected officials interfering in their most personal, private decisions. The Congress must act now to protect reproductive freedom, and I’ll be fighting with everything I’ve got to do that.”