The recent Supreme Court decision to overturn Roe v. Wade has made a lot of news buzz, creating confusion for some women facing unexpected pregnancies. If that’s you, know that you’re not alone. We hope to be a source of expert information and resources to you as you navigate your next steps.
It is important for you to know that the Supreme Court decision did not make abortion illegal across the board in the United States. Rather, the decision on abortion availability was turned over to the states, so your abortion options depend on Maryland state law. Let’s take a moment to walk through what that means.
Is Abortion Still Legal in Maryland?
In Maryland, abortion is protected under state law until the point of viability. This is generally understood to be the point at which a fetus can survive outside the womb, or around 24 weeks gestational age.
Maryland law also requires that the parents of minors be notified before the minor is permitted to obtain an abortion. The only exception to Maryland state limitations on abortion is to save the life or health of the woman. A licensed physician must also perform abortions.
Abortion availability in Maryland up until the point of viability includes access to both the abortion pill (also known as medication abortion or medical abortion) and surgical abortion (an in-clinic procedure performed by a physician).
Which abortion method is available or medically appropriate for each patient’s unique pregnancy situation depends on a number of factors, most notably how far along in pregnancy the woman is or what other medical complications may be present.
If you are unexpectedly pregnant and are considering abortion in Maryland, make sure you take the time to prioritize your health and safety by learning about your unique, specific medical needs. The best way to do this is through obtaining an ultrasound and speaking with a licensed medical professional about your options in person.
Can Women Still Get Emergency Medical Care?
Though the occurrence of this is quite rare, in some cases women may have life-threatening conditions that arise during pregnancy and must seek immediate medical treatment. In rare cases, this medical treatment may involve pregnancy termination. When a woman’s health is in danger, even after the overturning of Roe v. Wade, all medical intervention efforts are unrestricted.
This includes access to both ectopic pregnancy care—the removal of a non-viable (incompatible with life/growth) pregnancy outside of the uterus—and miscarriage care, consisting of follow-up care to protect a woman’s health following the unexpected or spontaneous demise of a pregnancy. The Secretary of Health and Human Services recently affirmed that access to this type of care for women in life-threatening medical scenarios remains protected in this letter to healthcare providers.
It is worth noting that both of these types of medical care are separate and distinct from elective abortion procedures.
What Do I Need to Know Before Abortion?
To prioritize your individual health and safety, it is very important to get specific answers and information on your unique medical needs prior to receiving an abortion, even before taking the abortion pill. Taking abortion medication may be dangerous if you take it too late in pregnancy or if medical complications are present that may remain unresolved.
One of the best ways to ensure you are confidently taking the best next steps you can take is by receiving an ultrasound exam.
Through this simple medical procedure and consultation with a nurse sonographer, you can get answers to a number of questions, including:
- How far along you are (and what pregnancy options are available)
- If the pregnancy is viable (or if miscarriage care is more appropriate for your situation)
- If the pregnancy is located in the uterus (or if you are at risk of ectopic pregnancy)
The answers to these questions could affect the pregnancy options available to you and whether you may need other medical attention to protect your health. Put your safety first—schedule your free appointment today to learn about your unique health needs.