2022testimonylist - Maryland Catholic Conference

SB 0535 - Unborn Child Protection From Dismemberment Abortion Act

Position: Support 

Committee: Senate Finance

The Maryland Catholic Conference represents the mutual public-policy interests of the three (arch)dioceses serving Maryland, including the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington.  We offer this testimony in support of Senate Bill 535.

SB 535 would prohibit an individual from purposely performing or attempting to perform a dismemberment abortion that kills an unborn child unless the abortion is necessary to prevent a serious health risk to the pregnant woman.  The bill may not be construed to create or recognize a right to an abortion or a right to a particular method of abortion.  In addition, the bill’s prohibitions may be construed to prevent an abortion for any reason, including rape and incest, or by any other method. 

The Maryland Catholic Conference supports SB 535 because its provisions intersect with the Church’s obligation to uphold respect for all human life.  The Catholic Church firmly believes in the dignity of human life from natural conception to natural death, and the partial limitations that SB 535 places on legal abortion procedures in Maryland represent a positive policy development. 

The Maryland Catholic Conference works to foster a culture of life in Maryland by advocating for laws that uphold the dignity of the human person and that assist pregnant women in need, while working to ensure that the State sets and enforces safe standards for women’s health care.  The Conference supports legislation that would place qualifying conditions on the scope of abortions performed in Maryland, which allows abortion through all nine months of pregnancy, with essentially no restrictions on why those abortions are performed.

For these reasons, we urge a favorable report on Senate Bill 535.

Read more

HB 1161 - Health - Abortion – Ultrasound and Waiting Period

Position: Support

Committee: House Health and Government Operations

The Maryland Catholic Conference offers this testimony in SUPPORT of House Bill 1161. The Catholic Conference represents the public policy interests of the three (arch)dioceses serving Maryland: the Archdioceses of Baltimore and Washington and the Diocese of Wilmington, which together encompass over one million Marylanders.

House Bill 1161 would prohibit a physician from performing or inducing an abortion on a pregnant woman within 24 hours after the woman receives certain ultrasound imaging. Giving a woman the ability, if she chooses, to see an ultrasound image, hear the fetal heartbeat, and have time to consider this information, is a needed process for a woman to make an informed decision.

Women deserve to have basic, relevant and medically appropriate information as well as the time to evaluate their options during pregnancy. To deny women the choice of seeing an ultrasound image or hearing a fetal heartbeat would be denying them vital information that they need to make a truly informed decision regarding an abortion. Please give all women the chance to make a truly informed decision based on complete and accurate information.

 

For these reasons, we urge a favorable report on House Bill 1161.

 

Read more

HB 0626 - Pregnant Person’s Freedom Act of 2022

Position: Oppose

Committee: House Health and Government Operations

The Maryland Catholic Conference represents the mutual public-policy interests of the three (arch)dioceses serving Maryland, including the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington.  We offer this testimony in opposition of House Bill 626.

HB 626 alters certain provisions of law relating to the termination of a pregnancy and investigations of or criminal penalties or civil liabilities for pregnant person or a person assisting a pregnant person.

This legislation, if enacted would add language to statute stating that, “A PERSON IS NOT SUBJECT TO CRIMINAL PENALTIES OR CIVIL DAMAGES FOR AIDING, INFORMING, OR IN ANY WAY ASSISTING A PREGNANT PERSON IN TERMINATING OR SEEKING TO TERMINATE THE PERSON’S PREGNANCY."

Under current law post viability abortions would only be protected if they are performed for the health of the mother or fetal abnormality. This new language would allow a doctor to perform a late term abortion for any reason at all and not be held responsible.  According to May, 2020 Gallup polling 50% of Americans believe that abortion should only be legal under certain circumstances. While only 29% of Americans believe abortion should be legal in all circumstances.[1]

This type of bill rejects the self-determination and bodily autonomy of women, especially low-income women, immigrants, and women of color.  Maryland women want support to be able to achieve their dreams and raise their children. It is not more abortion that Maryland needs, but a clear understanding of the diverse demographic in our state and support and resources for growing families.

For these reasons, we urge an UNFAVORABLE report on House Bill 626.

__

[1] Abortion | Gallup Historical Trends

Read more

HB 0583 - Public Health – Abortions – Prenatal Diagnosis of Down Syndrome (Down Syndrome Dignity Act)

Position: Support

Committee: House Health and Government Operations

The Maryland Catholic Conference represents the public policy interests of the three Roman Catholic (arch)dioceses serving Maryland: the Archdiocese of Baltimore, the Archdiocese of Washington, and the Diocese of Wilmington, which together encompass over one million Marylanders.

House Bill 583 prohibits abortion when the decision is made to terminate because the fetus has a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome.

Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition, affecting one out of every 700 pregnancies in the US. People with Down syndrome may face additional challenges in life. But most people with Down syndrome lead healthy, interdependent lives and their life expectancy has increased from 25 in 1983 to 60 today.[1]

The Conference supports HB 583 because it would prohibit the discriminatory practice of permitting abortion based solely on one’s disability or characteristics. Weighted studies find 67% of pregnancies with Down syndrome are terminated in the US.[2] The Catholic Church firmly believes in the dignity of human life from natural conception to natural death, including that of all unborn children.

It is for these reasons that the Maryland Catholic Conference asks for a favorable report for HB 583. Thank you for your consideration.

__

[1] National Down Syndrome Society

[2] Natoli et.al, Prenatal Diagnosis, Feb. 2012.

Read more

HB 0735 - Public Health - Abortion

Position: Support 

Committee: House Health and Government Operations

The Catholic Conference represents the public policy interests of the three (arch)dioceses serving Maryland, the Archdioceses of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and the Diocese of Wilmington, which together encompass over one million Marylanders.

HB 735 seeks to accomplish many objectives; most importantly prohibiting abortion after detection of a fetal heartbeat.

This bill addresses issues such as testing, informed consent, and recordkeeping requirements which are consistent with Supreme Court precedent upholding common-sense abortion regulations. HB 735 also attempts to secure additional protection for unborn children, namely, those whose hearts have begun to beat. By calling a halt to the intentional taking of innocent human lives with beating hearts, the prohibition section of the bill calls upon the courts to allow states to provide a level of protection for unborn children against abortion that is more consistent with basic human dignity.

It is for these reasons that the Maryland Catholic Conference respectfully urges a favorable report for HB 735.  Thank you for your consideration.

 

Read more

HB 1369 - Public Health - Abortions - Standards and Reporting

Position: Support

Committee: House Health and Government Operations

The Catholic Conference represents the public policy interests of the three (arch)dioceses serving Maryland, the Archdioceses of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and the Diocese of Wilmington, which together encompass over one million Marylanders.

HB 1369 would alter the criteria related to the State’s authority to interfere with a decision of a woman to terminate a pregnancy; and would prohibit a physician from performing an abortion under certain circumstances.

HB 1369 attempts to secure additional protection for unborn children, namely, those whose hearts have begun to beat. By calling a halt to the intentional taking of innocent human lives with beating hearts, the prohibition section of the bill calls upon the courts to allow states to provide a level of protection for unborn children against abortion that is more consistent with basic human dignity. Woman and their children deserve protection and respect and this legislation is a positive step in that direction.

It is for these reasons that the Maryland Catholic Conference respectfully urges a favorable report for HB 1369.  Thank you for your consideration.

Read more

HB 1364 - Health Care Freedom of Conscience Act

Position: Support

Committee: House Health and Government Operations

The Catholic Conference represents the public policy interests of the three (arch)dioceses serving Maryland, the Archdioceses of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and the Diocese of Wilmington, which together encompass over one million Marylanders.

HB 1364 would authorize health care providers and health care practitioners to decline to participate in a health care service that violates their conscience.

It is increasingly evident that there are efforts in our country and State to force medical providers to either perform actions against their personal conscience or leave the profession completely. Faith-based professionals are being driven out of medicine. 

Only robust legal protection of conscience rights will ensure the continued services of many medical professionals who are working tirelessly to heal and prevent illness.

It is for these reasons that the Maryland Catholic Conference respectfully urges a favorable report for HB 1364.  Thank you for your consideration.

 

Read more

HB 1321 - Health – Abortion – Reporting Requirement

Position: Support

Committee: House Health and Government Operations

The Catholic Conference represents the public policy interests of the three (arch)dioceses serving Maryland, the Archdioceses of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and the Diocese of Wilmington, which together encompass over one million Marylanders.

HB 1321 would require abortions to be included annually in Maryland’s Vital Statistic Report, expanding applicable data as it pertains to women’s health as well as prenatal and maternal risk factors.  Without examining the full scope of the problem, a solution cannot be presented and the state cannot provide the resources to better the health of women and their families.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “47 states require mandatory abortion reporting” and notes, “abortion reporting is important to define characteristics of women at high-risk for unintended pregnancy, maternal mortality, pre-term delivery, and labor complications.”  House Bill 1321 would allow for Maryland to compile state-wide data on health services advancing the state of medical knowledge concerning maternal and fetal health.  Abortion and pregnancy rates can be used to evaluate the effectiveness of family planning programs and programs for preventing unintended pregnancies. 

A complete statistical profile of pregnancy is very useful to promote life in our state.  It is for these reasons that the Conference asks for a favorable report for House Bill 1321.  Thank you for your consideration.

 

Read more

HB 1360 - Public Health - Abortion-Inducing Drugs

Position: Support

Committee: House Health and Government Operations

The Catholic Conference represents the public policy interests of the three (arch)dioceses serving Maryland, the Archdioceses of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and the Diocese of Wilmington, which together encompass over one million Marylanders.

HB 1360 would provide for the circumstances under and the manner in which a person may provide an abortion–inducing drug to a pregnant woman and establish reporting requirements related to the use of abortion–inducing drugs in the State.

The bill targets mail-order prescriptions of abortion-inducing drugs authorized by the federal Food and Drug Administration last year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.  These drugs were never intended to be provided without the direct involvement of a health-care worker or provided via mail.  An estimated 27.000 American women went to a hospital emergency room last year reporting complications from taking an abortion-induced drug.

Unfortunately, there are far too many abortionists who are willing to mail out abortion-inducing drugs without ever seeing a patient, even on video.  As a State we can and should do better and find ways to protect women. 

It is for these reasons that the Maryland Catholic Conference respectfully urges a favorable report for HB 1360.  Thank you for your consideration.

Read more

HB 1317 - Health - Informed Consent (Woman's Right to Know Act)

Position: Support

Committee: House Health and Government Operations

The Catholic Conference represents the public policy interests of the three (arch)dioceses serving Maryland, the Archdioceses of Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and the Diocese of Wilmington, which together encompass over one million Marylanders.

HB 1317 would prohibit a physician from performing an abortion unless the woman provides informed consent; establishing requirements related to the performance of an abortion, including requirements related to the provision of information, record keeping, medical emergencies, and the collection and reporting of information.

Informed consent is essential to good health care. In order for women to be in control of their own health, they need full and accurate information about any proposed medical procedure, including abortion.

We should all be skeptical of any claims that an informed consent law would interfere with the patient-provider relationship. Time spent documenting that the patient has been given full and accurate information is not time wasted. The safety of any business model that puts its own standard operating procedure ahead of a woman’s ability to make a fully-informed choice is questionable.

The bill would mandate reporting of abortion statistics to the state. This is long overdue. There are public health as well as legislative reasons for understanding the scope and effect of abortion in Maryland. Collecting accurate data is good public policy.

A 24-hour reflection period is a reasonable provision to help ensure that a pregnant woman or adolescent has time to view and understand information about her pregnancy and the abortion procedure.

It is for these reasons that the Maryland Catholic Conference respectfully urges a favorable report for HB 1317.  Thank you for your consideration.

Read more