Re: ALERT: The Legislative Hearing on HB 1171 is scheduled for Tuesday, February 22nd at 1 p.m. in the House Health and Government Affairs Committee. HB 1171 provides an amendment to the Maryland Constitution’s Declaration of Rights to add a Right to Reproduction Liberty. It is sponsored by Speaker of the House Adrienne Jones. It states:
THAT EVERY PERSON, AS A CENTRAL COMPONENT OF THE INDIVIDUAL’S RIGHTS TO LIBERTY AND EQUALITY, HAS THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHT TO REPRODUCTIVE LIBERTY WHICH INCLUDES THE RIGHT TO MAKE AND EFFECTUATE DECISIONS REGARDING THE INDIVIDUAL’S OWN REPRODUCTION, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE ABILITY TO PREVENT, CONTINUE, OR END THEIR PREGNANCY. THE STATE MAY NOT, DIRECTLY OR INDIRECTLY, DENY, BURDEN, OR ABRIDGE THE RIGHT UNLESS JUSTIFIED BY A COMPELLING STATE INTEREST ACHIEVED BY THE LEAST RESTRICTIVE MEANS.
It appears that this amendment would prohibit any restrictions on abortion at any time during pregnancy through birth. It denies any consideration of right of personhood to any unborn baby no matter how close to birth.
TOMORROW (Fri Feb 18) submit oral or written testimony on HB 1171 you must sign up through the MyMGA account at: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. This hearing is a virtual hearing.
Wednesday, February 23rd at 1 p.m. the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee will hold an in-person hearing on SB 669 the Pregnant Person’s Freedom Act. All oral testimony will be in-person in the hearing room. Sign ups for written or oral testimony are on Tuesday, February 22 beginning at 4 p.m. through 10 a.m. the morning of the hearing. You must sign up through the MyMGA account at: http://mgaleg.maryland.gov.
SB 669 sponsored by Senator Will Smith explicitly clarifies that the law on murder or manslaughter of a viable fetus may not be construed to authorize a penalty for a person who terminates their own pregnancy or experiences a miscarriage or perinatal death related to a failure to act. It also exempts anyone who assists a person in terminating a pregnancy. The term “perinatal” is defined in the dictionary as “occurring during or pertaining to the phase surrounding the time of birth from the 20th week of gestation to the 28th day of newborn life.” SB 669 also removes the word “woman” from the law and replaces it with “person”.
There are a number of other bills that either expand or restrict abortion that are also being heard in these two committees. Check the Hearing Schedule for further details.