MCC testifies on numerous Life and Women's Health bills

Mark Wallen addresses those gathered at Catholics in Annapolis on Feb. 21 about Laura & Reid's Law. 

The Maryland Catholic Conference was among the advocates on March 8 who testified on a slate of bills that seek to protect life, as well as several bills that work to protect and enhance women's health in Maryland. The bills are all being considered by the House Health and Government Operations Committee. 

"As people of faith, we know the importance of standing up for life, including the lives of women, who are sadly among the vulnerable in our state," said Therese Hessler, associate director with the Conference. "Today, the House will hear about numerous bills that would place common-sense regulations in place to protect life, including the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act. They will also hear from powerful advocates like Mark Wallen, who lost two generations of his family in 2017 to domestic violence, about the need to put in place greater protections for Maryland's women."

Laura and Reid's Law was among the bills that the committee heard on March 8. Laura & Reid's Law seeks to protect pregnant women in Maryland and their families by expanding the ability of prosecutors to charge those who violently attack a pregnant woman and kill her unborn child with the charge of fetal homicide. Currently, in Maryland, an unborn baby must be considered "viable" in order for prosecutors to charge those who violently attack pregnant women intending to kill their unborn child, with fetal homicide. Viability is generally interpreted as 24 weeks gestational age or older. Laura and Reid's Law would expand the fetal homicide law to apply to unborn children as young as 8 weeks who die as a result of an intentional attack on a pregnant woman.

The Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act would save unborn children in Maryland from a grotesquely painful death by prohibiting abortions after 20 weeks, unless medically necessary for the mother. Research has shown that by 20 weeks, pain receptors are present throughout an unborn child's body and that nerves link those receptors to the brain, making the unborn child capable of feeling and reacting to pain. The bill would work to protect Maryland's unborn children and women from late-term abortions. 

To read the Conference's full testimony on these bills, visit: www.mdcatholic.org/2019testimony