HB 1272 — Maryland Department of Health – Family Planning Program - Funding

Committee: House Health & Government Operations Committee

Position: OPPOSE

The Maryland Catholic Conference offers this testimony in OPPOSITION of House Bill 1272 (HB 1272). 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.

HB 1272 prohibits the Maryland Department of Health (MDH) from accepting any federal funding under the Title X Family Planning Program if that program (1) excludes family planning providers and (2) does not require such providers to provide a broad range of acceptable and effective medically approved family planning methods and services, specifically abortion. If MDH does not accept Title X program funds, the Governor must fund Maryland’s Family Planning Program at the same level as total funding provided in the preceding fiscal year.

The Church OPPOSES HB 1272 because it expands state funding for abortions and therefore is in direct conflict with the Church’s obligation to uphold respect for human life. To be clear, the Catholic Church firmly believes in the dignity of human life from natural conception to natural death, including that of all unborn children; and, HB 1272 represents a negative policy development, because it inappropriately burdens Maryland taxpayers to fund abortion procedures.

The Maryland Catholic Conference works to foster a culture of life by advocating for laws that uphold the dignity of the human person and that assist pregnant women in need, while working to ensure the State offers safe standards for women’s health. It is for these reasons that the Maryland Catholic Conference respectfully urges an unfavorable report for HB 1272. Thank you for your consideration.