Maryland House Bill 23 would require abortion providers' facilities be regulated as ambulatory surgical centers. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 95% of abortions are provided in clinics or physicians offices. There are 41 abortion providers in Maryland, and John Nugent, President of Planned Parenthood of Maryland, believes few (if any) of them have the financial means to implement the required changes of this proposed law.
Ambulatory care facilities are required to have specialized medical equipment, like ventilators; must have wider doors; and their hallways must be at least 4 feet wider than the hallways of a clinic or doctor's office. Widening the hallways four feet would likely require major construction and many clinics simply would not be able to maintain their current buildings. Medically, it's a completely unnecessary provision.
This law is a backhanded attempt to restrict a woman's legal right to obtain an abortion by denying access to abortion providers. This bill is a TRAP (Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers) law: Maryland allows other minor procedures, like skin biopsies and tooth extractions, to be performed in clinics and doctors' offices, yet this bill singles out abortion. This is nothing more than an attempt to restrict access to abortion by forcing it into facilities that are expensive for patients and insurance companies to pay for and expensive for practitioners to maintain.
This is yet another attempt to deny women their legal right to terminate a pregnancy. Tell Maryland lawmakers you won't allow it.
Photo credit: dbking
I am writing to express my opposition to House Bill 23, An Act Concerning Freestanding Ambulatory Care Facilities - Licensing - Abortion Services. If enacted, this legislation would mandate that abortion providers' facilities be regulated as ambulatory surgical centers. Since most abortions are provided in clinics or physicians' offices, many of the current abortion providers would not be able to maintain their facilities, thus creating an undue burden upon providers and women seeking to obtain an abortion. For these reasons, I ask you to oppose House Bill 23.
According to the Guttmacher Institute, 95 percent of abortions are provided at clinics or doctors' offices (2005 data available at http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/sfaa/maryland.html). Other minor procedures, such as skin biopsies and tooth extractions, are also performed in these settings. Ambulatory surgical facilities have more stringent requirements than clinics and physicians' offices: namely wider doors and hallways and more expensive medical equipment, like ventilators. These changes are medically unnecessary for these reproductive health clinics.
In 1991, Maryland passed a law concerning the regulation of abortion that was upheld via voter referendum in 1992. Under this law (section 20-209), the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene may adopt regulations so long as they are "the least intrusive method." This bill is intrusive and is unnecessarily targeting abortion providers as opposed to other providers of minor surgical procedures. It is unjust and unfair. I ask you to oppose this bill.
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