CHOICES : A Sourcebook of Reproductive Health Care in Maryland

Laws Affecting Reproductive Health Care Access

Abortion – Under Maryland law, the state may not interfere with someone's decision to terminate their pregnancy before the fetus is viable, or at any time if the life or health of the mother is at risk, or the fetus is affected by a genetic defect, abnormality, or deformity.1
 
Minors' Access to Birth Control – Currently, there are no laws in Maryland prohibiting access to contraception for people under 18.
 
Minors' Access to Abortion – For unmarried minors, a physician needs to notify a parent or guardian that the young woman will be having an abortion. However, the physician does not have to notify a parent if he or she believes that:
  • Telling a parent will lead to physical or emotional abuse;
  • The young woman is mature and capable of giving informed consent for the abortion; or
  • Telling a parent would not be in the young woman's best interest.

State Funding for Abortion (click here) - Maryland has state funds available to those who are eligible for public assistance and meet certain criteria. Funding is available if:
  • Continuing the pregnancy would threaten the patient's life;
  • The patient has been a victim of rape, incest, or sexual assault and has reported it to the police, public health services, or social agency;
  • The fetus is affected by a genetic defect, abnormality, or deformity; or
  • Continuing the pregnancy could have adverse effects on the patient's health, including mental health.
These inclusions only apply to Medicard, and DO NOT apply to the MCHIP Program.
For people who are not eligible for state assistance, there are private organizations that can help fund abortion. Click here for more information.
 
State Funding for Family Planning – The Maryland Children's Health Insurance Program (MCHIP) provides health insurance for uninsured children. MCHIP also provides access to reproductive health care for low-income women. Women who become ineligible for public assistance after giving birth are covered by MCHIP for family planning services and other health care. Please note that MCHIP only covers family planning, not abortion. For additional information, call (800) 456-8900.
 
Insurance Coverage for Birth Control Insurance companies are required to provide you with whatever birth control your doctor prescribes. Any counseling or appointments needed to cover this birth control are also covered. You do not have to pay anything out of pocket. There is an exception for religious organization that are providing health insurance. For more information on how the Affordable Care Act affects access to birth control, the National Women's Law Center has a useful fact sheet. Healthcare.gov also has information here. 

1. "Maryland State Profile," NARAL Pro-Choice America. www.prochoiceamerica.org/choice-action-center/in_your_state/who-decides/state-profiles/maryland.html (last visited June 25, 2009).
A publication of the NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland Fund
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