Two restrictive abortion bills introduced by Senate Minority Leader John A. Cade received endorsements from nearly two-thirds of Anne Arundel's lawmakers yesterday.
Cade, a Severna Park Republican, proposed a bill Monday night that would prohibit abortions used for birth control or as a means of sex selection and would regulate abortion clinics. The second bill would require minors to receive parental consent before having an abortion.
They are almost identical to legislation Cade introduced last year. Just as last year, Cade's bill followed proposed legislation by abortion-rights advocates that would preserve nearly unrestricted access to abortions if the U.S. Supreme Court overturns the 1973 Roe vs. Wade decision.
Cade has had little comment since he introduced the proposals. Senate and House committee's will conduct joint hearings in Annapolis at 1 p.m. Jan. 31.
Yesterday, nine of 15 county lawmakers who attended the annual breakfast-forum at Harry Brown's Restaurant with the League of Women Voters said they will support Cade's bills.
The league had asked the legislators to outline their positionson abortion, proposed tax reforms and growth controls and a possiblenew gasoline sales tax.
Only Sen. Gerald Winegrad, D-Annapolis, and delegates Joan Cadden, D-Brooklyn Park; Ray Huff, D-Pasadena; MikeBusch, D-Annapolis; Aris Allen, R-Annapolis, and John Astle, D-Annapolis, favored the abortion rights legislation over Cade's.
"I wantto keep abortion legal but safe," said Delegate Marsha Perry, D-Crofton, who favors Cade's bills. "I want to see more regulation of theseabortion clinics and statistics on abortions reported to the state health department."
Delegate John Gary, R-Millersville, said he also favors Cade's bills. But, he said, he doesn't believe it will matter. Whichever side passes its bill, the other side will petition to put the new law up for referendum in 1992, he said.
"Ultimately, youwill have to decide," Gary told league members.
Busch added, "Regardless of what we pass, what we do is mute as long as Roe vs. Wade exists."
Some legislators said portions of a tax reform package that was proposed by a gubernatorial task force and that could raise an additional $800 million in taxes may pass next year. But, the lawmakers agreed, none of it would fly this session.
A task force, led byMontgomery County attorney Robert Linowes, "was supposed to study tax reform," said Delegate Elizabeth S. Smith, R-Davidsonville.
"But, when I see a report that comes out with an $800 million price tag to taxpayers, I don't consider that tax reform."
Delegate Tyras S. "Bunk" Athey, D-Jessup, said the state's tax system needs to be "realigned" to help Maryland's poorer jurisdictions.
But "Linowes made a mistake coming in with a bottom line that I frankly find offensive," said Athey, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, which will consider the Linowes report.
Most legislators said they will consider an increase in gasoline taxes to keep the state's road construction plans on schedule and construction crews working.
But Winegrad said he would oppose any increase on principle.
"My problem is we will continue to foster growth and sprawl," said Winegrad, adding that the state, like the country, needs an energy policy.