Maryland's Abortion Laws - More Extreme than Roe vs. Wade


Advances in medical science and technology are changing the conversation on abortion, and opening the eyes of new generations to the fundamental humanity of the unborn child.

The vast majority (76%) of Americans support reasonable restrictions on abortion, especially in the third trimester (6-9 months).  78% would prefer policies to protect both the mother and the child.[i]   

State governments are responding to this culture shift.  Between 2010 and 2016, states enacted 338 new abortion restrictions, which account for nearly 30% of the 1,142 abortion restrictions enacted by states since the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision.[ii]

But Maryland lawmakers firmly remain stuck in the 1970’s with regressive abortion laws that turn a blind eye to scientific fact and basic human biology. In fact, Maryland’s abortion laws are the 5th most extreme in the nation, resulting in some of the highest abortion rates.  Maryland goes far beyond the scope of federal law, permitting abortion on demand at any time during a woman’s nine-months of pregnancy.[iii] 

Maryland More Extreme than Roe vs. Wade

In 1991, Maryland Governor William Donald Schaefer signed Senate Bill 162 into law, enacting one of the most extreme abortion statutes in the United States.  This bill effectively barred even the most reasonable restrictions on abortion otherwise permitted by the United States Supreme Court in their 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision.  Pro-lifers mounted an all out effort to repeal the law by referendum, but the referendum failed.[iv]

Since 1992, Maryland law has:

  • -Permitted abortion on demand, even late in pregnancy;
  • -Defined “health” of the woman very broadly, to include physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and convenience factors;
  • -Protected abortionists from legal action;
  • -Allowed abortionists to practice contrary to the standards of medical care, including no obligation to secure a patient’s
  • informed consent;
  • -Allowed abortionists to perform abortions on minors without notifying a parent or obtaining parental consent;
  • -Failed to require abortion facilities to report vital statistics on the number of abortions and pregnancies occurring in the state of Maryland; and
  • -Failed to protect religious freedom and conscientious objections of health care workers who refuse to refer for abortions.

While Maryland is one of three states that does not require abortion facilities to report the number of abortions that they perform each year, it is estimated that nearly 30,000 abortions are performed annually in Maryland. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 28,140 abortions were performed in Maryland in 2014 though not all were performed on state residents, as some patients traveled to Maryland from other states. [v]

Defending the Right to Life in Maryland

Maryland Right to Life, Inc. recognizes the fundamental value of every human life.  MDRTL will continue to work with citizens, church and civic leaders and legislators to protect all human life by working to make abortion, infanticide, and the destruction of human embryos socially, legally, and morally unacceptable and by promoting positive alternatives to these acts.  We are actively engaged in advocating for pro-life policies during the current session of the Maryland General Assembly.

Despite Maryland’s strongly anti-life legislature, there have been several important pro-life accomplishments made through partnerships with exceptional pro-life leaders.

  • Treatment Pending Transfer in 1993, guaranteeing newborns who survive abortion attempts, life saving care by an unwilling abortion provider, until a transfer can occur;
  • The Safe Haven Act of 2002, providing the mechanism for mothers to leave newborns at safe locations without legal consequence, deterring against abandoning newborns to die;
  • Maryland’s Fetal Homicide Law of 2005, allowing for prosecution of violent criminals who intentionally for with wanton disregard, take the life of an unborn child considered to be “viable” in the womb; and
  • Cord Blood Banking Program in 2011, emphasizing the successes and potential of ethical adult stem cells, reducing the demand for fetal stem cells obtained through abortion.

 A Call to Action - Be a voice for the voiceless in Maryland.

This extreme and barbaric legislation has recently been signed into law in New York state. We cannot allow it to happen in Maryland

See a side-by-side comparison of Maryland's Abortion Law to the New York "Reproductive Health Act".


[i] Marist Institute for Public Opinion Poll, Americans’ Opinion on Abortion, January 2018. 

[ii] Finer LB and Zolna MR, Declines in unintended pregnancy in the United States, 2008–2011, New England Journal of Medicine, 2016, 374(9):843–852. 

[iii] National Right to Life Committee, Inc., State Legislative Department, Mary Spaulding Balch, Attorney at Law. 

[iv] National Right to Life Committee, Inc., State Legislative Department, Mary Spaulding Balch, Attorney at Law. 

[v] Jones RK and Jerman J, Abortion incidence and service availability in the United States, 2014, Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health, 2017, 49(1), doi:10.1363/psrh.12015.


Maryland Right to Life • P.O. Box 2994 Annapolis, MD 21404

(410) 269-6397