FFRF lauds Md. abortion expansion law and Idaho court ruling lauryn@ffrf.org (Lauryn Seering) News Releases – Freedom From Religion Foundation – Freedom From Religion Foundation

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The Freedom From Religion Foundation applauds Maryland lawmakers for standing up in defense of abortion rights and the Idaho Supreme Court for halting that state’s draconian ban.  This past weekend, Maryland legislators voted to override Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto of a bill that expands who can perform an abortion. House Bill 937, or Abortion Care Access Act, allows health practitioners outside of physicans, such as nurse practitioners, midwives and physician’s assistants, to perform abortion care.  This is an important step, since restricting abortion care providers is another barrier to access. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advocates expanding medical professionals who can provide abortion, explaining that “several reports show no differences in outcomes in first-trimester medication and aspiration abortion by health-care practitioner type and indicate that trained advanced practice clinicians can safely provide abortion services.” The Maryland Abortion Care Access Act also establishes the Abortion Care Clinical Trial Training Program, which will develop two abortion care training programs in at least two community sites, with $3.5 million going to the program each year.  In other welcome news, Idaho’s Supreme Court on Friday temporarily halted the state’s six-week abortion-ban-and-bounty law signed last month by the governor, which was set to take effect April 22. Planned Parenthood sued to block the ban, which would have empowered biological relatives to sue providers who perform abortions after six weeks for up to $20,000. Although the bill prohibited a rapist from suing, his relatives would not be prohibited. The court gave the state until April 28 to respond.  “Patients across Idaho can breathe a sigh of relief,” Planned Parenthood spokesperson Rebecca Gibron put it aptly. “We are thrilled that abortion will remain accessible in the state for now, but our fight to ensure that Idahoans can fully access their constitutionally protected rights is far from over.” FFRF welcomes the developments in both Maryland and Idaho — which push back against the prevalent onslaught on abortion rights. “The forced-birth movement is essentially a religious war on reproductive rights that would turn individuals with unwanted pregnancies into breeding machines because of someone else’s religious objections to abortion,” comments Annie Laurie Gaylor, FFRF co-president. Maryland’s Abortion Care Access Act will become law and take effect on July 1. In the face of so many anti-abortion laws, it is heartening to see the state’s legislators protecting and expanding abortion access.