Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Abortion Ban in Maryland Legislature

Our state capital is many things: lively, intellectual, attractive. But most of all, Annapolis is historic – many of its roads are still cobblestone, and a number of buildings in the center of town date back to Annapolis’s founding in the 17th century. In short, parts of Annapolis seem like a time capsule; a visit to last Friday’s hearing on the retrograde “personhood” amendment only reinforced that colonial-era feeling.

House Bill 925, described here, would effectively outlaw all abortion procedures and challenge Roe v. Wade. It’s fairly obvious why the passage of the “personhood” amendment would be a tremendous step back for women’s rights. Not only does it take a crucial option for women off the table – or force them to seek potentially fatal illegal abortions – but it could have other disturbing and confusing implications. A woman who suffers a miscarriage could be in danger of conviction for manslaughter. One who drank a glass of wine before knowing about her pregnancy could be accused, as Prof. Jessica Berg points out, of child abuse and endangerment. This amendment would be a pretty big step on the way to creating a Maryland where pregnant women are treated as little more than tote bags for babies, where their every move is scrutinized for possible criminal repercussions, where they are not granted enough respect to make decisions about their own future. That’s not a Maryland that any of us want to see.

A woman can choose to have an abortion; she can also choose adoption or motherhood. The battle we fight now is the battle to allow her to find her own answer, whatever that answer might be. Take action against this dangerous bill - contact legislators and let them know this amendment is wrong for women and wrong for Maryland.

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