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Democratic governor candidates urge state constitutional amendment to keep abortion legal

5/3/2022 | Mikenzie Frost

WBFF Fox45

The leaded draft opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court regarding abortion rights sent shockwaves around the country, in Maryland, Democrat candidates vying for governor quickly responded with statements and calls for further action.

From tweets to statements, the crowded field of candidates outlined their frustration and plans to improve access, they said.

“The Supreme Court’s pending decision to overturn Roe v. Wade is deeply disturbing and dangerous. It cannot be overstated how many people will die as a result of this decision,” Democrat Wes Moore said via statement. “This is precisely why, if I am elected governor, I will fight to defend Marylanders’ right to access safe and legal abortions – including through constitutional amendment – and oppose any efforts to restrict access to reproductive care in Maryland.”

Tom Perez issued a series of tweets expressing his displeasure about the decision, calling it disgraceful.

“If this disgraceful draft decision stands, it will roll the clock back for women — and for all seeking abortion care — a half-century,” Perez tweeted.

Rushern Baker put the pressure and blame on former President Donald Trump, saying it was because of Trump’s “three nominees to the Supreme Court, the reproductive rights and lives of women are now at risk.”

Doug Gansler issued a statement that reiterated the “elections have consequences” notion and said that “blue states need blue governors.”

“Guns have more rights than women in America,” Gansler said. “The governor appoints judges in Maryland, the very same judges who will be interpreting laws around women’s reproductive rights. We cannot take established protections for reproductive freedom for granted.”

John King issued statements as well and he held a virtual event discussing the issue. He said the draft opinion threatened the rights of women and said the state of Maryland should expect an influx of women coming seeking an abortion.

“We will undoubtedly see folks traveling to Maryland to seek abortion access and I think it will have a chilling effect on people all across the country,” King said.

Jon Barron, another candidate for governor, tweeted a statement about the draft opinion, denouncing the apparent move to roll back the protections outlined in Roe v. Wade.

Meanwhile, Republican candidate Dan Cox did not return FOX45′ request for comment about the issue.

Kelly Schulz, another GOP candidate who has been backed by incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan, did not say much about the draft opinion leak but was asked about the topic during an interview on WBAL Radio Tuesday morning.

“I am a pro-life candidate, but Marylanders have decided 30 years ago on this issue, and there is nothing I am going to do to change that,” she said.

In a statement to FOX45 News, the Schulz campaign said Marylanders voted to make abortion legal the state 30 years ago, “and any decision forthcoming on Roe v. Wade will not change that.”

“The continued politicization of the Supreme Court is shameful and those fearmongering over Maryland abortion rights are only adding to that,” the campaign said. “While Kelly Schulz is personally pro-life, as governor, nothing will change with respect to current Maryland law on the issue.”

While Democratic candidates called on lawmakers in Annapolis to enshrine the abortion protection in the Maryland Constitution, efforts to put the issue before voters failed in the General Assembly during the 2022 session.

A statement from Senate President Bill Ferguson did not address the issue of putting the constitutional amendment up next session, though Ferguson touted the work lawmakers did to expand access to abortion during the last session. He said, “women’s reproductive rights are under attack” in the country and that a woman’s “right to make her own medical decisions will not be undermined in Maryland.”

“This session, the Maryland General Assembly passed the Abortion Care Access Act to ensure safe, equitable, and thoughtful access to reproductive care,” Ferguson said. “Although the regressive policy actions and rhetorical discussions at the national level are harrowing, we in Maryland have long stood for women and their right to make the best medical decisions for themselves and their families. We will continue to protect this right.”