Maryland Abortion Laws and Policies
- In 1991, Maryland codified the Roe v. Wade ruling into its own laws, so even if the U.S. Supreme Court hears cases related to abortion rights, Maryland will maintain the same level of abortion access we have now. Md. Code Ann., Health-Gen. § 20-209 (Enacted 1991).
- Abortion is accessible until the fetus is viable (when the fetus would be able to survive independent of the pregnant person). Abortion care may be prohibited after viability unless it is necessary to preserve the patient’s life or health, or unless the fetus is affected by a genetic defect or serious deformity or abnormality. Md. Code Ann., Health-Gen. § 20-209 (Enacted 1991).
- Maryland is one of 16 states that uses its state Medicaid funding to cover abortion care. However, if you are on Medicaid due to a recent pregnancy, you may not qualify. Visit this website to learn more. If you are a Medicaid recipient, it is important to contact the clinic to see if you are on a plan that covers abortion care.
- In Maryland, a minor is someone under the age of 18 that has not been legally emancipated. The clinic must notify at least one of the minor’s parents before providing abortion care because of the Maryland Parental Notification for Abortion Law. The law does not require that a parent or legal guardian give permission (consent) before the abortion care is provided – just to be notified before the care is received. If notification cannot be done in-person at the clinic, notification can be done by certified letter with restricted delivery. Restricted delivery means that the letter can only be delivered to the person the letter is addressed to. The notification requirement does not applied to a minor who is married. If a minor does not live with a parent or legal guardian, notification by mail is required, and the abortion care can be provided even if the notification attempt by mail is unsuccessful. However, the medical care provider has the right to waive the notification requirement. There are three situations in which the provider has discretion to perform an abortion for a minor without parental notification by using professional judgment to determine either:
- Notice to the parent may lead to physical or emotional abuse of the minor;
- The minor is mature and capable of giving informed consent to an abortion; or
- Notice would not be in the best interests of the minor
- Unlike in other states, there is no requirement for a minor to seek a court order to receive abortion care without parental involvement, known as a judicial bypass. There is also no state residency requirement of the minor patient, which is also true of an adult patient. (Article 20-103 of the Maryland Annotated Code) (Enacted 1991)
- There are no unnecessary legal requirements around waiting periods or ultrasounds in the state