By Liam Reilly and Kaanita Iyer, CNN
“In our state, no one should ever have to justify their humanity,” Moore said at the signing. “In our state, no one should have to justify their own humanness.”
The governor’s approval comes as some Democratic-led states have enacted similar protections, while several state legislatures with a GOP majority have moved in the opposite direction to pass near-total bans on abortion and gender-affirming care for minors.
“While other states are dead set on ripping away reproductive rights and attempting to erase the existence of trans and nonbinary individuals, we’re doing the opposite,” Lt. Governor Aruna Miller said in a statement. “We’re making Maryland a state that is welcoming, inclusive, and that safeguards the rights of all people.”
Along with enshrining abortion as a “fundamental right,” the new measures mandate public colleges and universities “develop and implement a reproductive health services plan,” which includes ensuring that students have access to over-the-counter contraceptives.
Under one measure, judges are prohibited from requiring individuals to provide testimony or evidence in other states’ cases that allege a violation of criminal law for receiving or assisting with health care that is protected in Maryland.
Another measure regulates the disclosure of medical information to ensure that abortion procedures and care remain confidential.
At Wednesday’s signing, Moore sent a clear message about the state’s stance on reproductive care following the Supreme Court’s reversal of Roe v. Wade last year, which removed federal abortion protections.
“I want to say to all the women who are out there who are wondering what will happen, who are worried about their future — please hear me loud and clear: Maryland will always be a safe haven for abortion access and abortion rights,” Moore said.
The governor also signed a bill that protects access to gender-affirming care by requiring Medicaid to provide coverage for such care in a “nondiscriminatory manner” starting January 1, 2024.
Gender-affirming care is medically necessary, evidence-based care that uses a multidisciplinary approach to help a person transition from their assigned gender — the one the person was designated at birth — to their affirmed gender — the gender by which one wants to be known.
While several states, including Minnesota and Colorado, have passed legislation protecting gender-affirming care, it has become a marquee issue within the GOP. More than 120 bills that target health care for transgender patients have been introduced nationwide this legislative session, according to data compiled by the American Civil Liberties Union.
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