Maryland Governor Wes Moore signed laws on Wednesday aimed at protecting abortion rights and expanding Medicaid coverage for gender-affirming treatment in a heavily Democratic state. This move comes at a time when many Republican-led states are imposing restrictions or outright bans on abortion and limiting access to gender-affirming care.
Starting on January 1st, the Trans Health Equity Act will require the state's Medicaid program to cover a wider range of procedures related to gender-affirming care. This means that Medicaid will provide coverage for gender-affirming treatment that is deemed medically necessary, as determined by a licensed healthcare provider in accordance with current clinical standards of care. The aim of the Act is to ensure that individuals receive treatment for conditions related to their gender identity.
“In our state, no one should ever have to justify their humanity,” Moore said. “In our state, no one should have to justify their own humanness, and that’s what the Trans Health Equity Act is all about, and it’s the legislation that we need.”
Governor Moore also signed several bills to protect reproductive rights and improve access to healthcare in Maryland. One law aims to shield patients and providers from criminal, civil, and administrative penalties resulting from abortion bans or restrictions in other states. Another law is focused on protecting the privacy of medical and insurance records related to reproductive health, which are often shared widely across state lines via electronic health information exchanges. Additionally, the governor signed a bill requiring public colleges and universities in Maryland to develop plans for student access to birth control, including emergency contraception and abortion pills, near their campuses.
Moore said that Maryland will “always be a safe haven for abortion access and abortion rights," and that, “In this moment of serious consequences for women and for all Marylanders, Maryland can and will lead on this issue of abortion access.”