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Hogan withholds abortion training funds

Mark Dixon

Days after the leak of a draft, Supreme Court ruling that would overturn Roe v. Wade, Gov. Larry Hogan has decided not to release the $3.5 million state lawmakers set aside for training new abortion care providers, delaying the program’s start until next year.

Hogan vetoed the Abortion Care Access Act, which created the program, last month, arguing the training would endanger pregnant people. The General Assembly quickly overrode the veto.

Now a Hogan spokesperson has confirmed to The Baltimore Sun that he will withhold the funds, arguing that allowing non-physicians to perform abortion care would set back women’s health standards.

Del. Ariana Kelly, the Montgomery County Democrat who sponsored the bill, told WYPR the governor’s logic is flawed, as the measure received widespread support from the medical community. During the 2022 legislative session, the Maryland chapter of the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecologists named the Abortion Care Access Act a top legislative priority.

Kelly said delaying the launch of the program—even by a few months— may be tremendously harmful.

“Once the Supreme Court makes a decision on Roe, if it goes the way we expect it to go, we are going to have increased demand in the state of Maryland,” Kelly said, “And that's going to hurt women's health for both women in Maryland and women outside of Maryland if we don't have enough trained providers.”

Kelly also noted the training is open to doctors, not just physician’s assistants and nurse practitioners, as is often talked about. It is in the scope of practice for doctors like family practice physicians to administer abortion care, but the education is rarely found in their medical school curricula. These doctors could benefit from the training program.

“I don't know anyone in the state of Maryland who thinks it's a good idea for people to delay the abortion they've already decided to seek,” Kelly said. “I think delaying the program pretty much directly ensures that we're going to have longer wait times for people seeking abortion care.”

Callan Tansill-Suddath is a State House Reporter for WYPR, where she covers the General Assembly.