Matters of conscience

February 20, 1991

Current law states:

"A person may not be required to perform or participate in, orefer to any source for, any medical procedure that results in artificial insemination, sterilization, or termination of pregnancy."

Law enacted by General Assembly and signed by Gov. William Donald Schaefer states:

"A person may not be required to perform or participate in any medical procedure that results in artificial insemination, sterilization, or termination of pregnancy."

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The new law, said Delegate Samuel I. Rosenberg, D-Baltimore, abortion-rights advocate, "strikes the proper balance between the religious beliefs between every health practitioner of this state and the medical obligations of that health practitioner."

But abortion opponents offered an amendment Monday to continue legal immunity for health practitioners "from civil liability or disciplinary action or recrimination by the state . . . for the failure or refusal to refer to a source for any medical procedure that results in artificial insemination, sterilization or termination of pregnancy."

Without that amendment, said Delegate Timothy F. Maloney, D-Prince George's, an abortion opponent, "The bottom line on this is very, very clear: That health care providers . . . are now vulnerable."

The amendment, sponsored by Delegates Maloney and Martha S. Klima, R-Baltimore County, failed, 73-61.

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