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Maryland's approach to abortion not 'extreme'

Supporters of abortion rights hold a rally outside Baltimore City Hall to raise awareness of states that are passing laws restricting abortions. (Kenneth K. Lam, Baltimore Sun video)

“Absolutist and extreme.” That's how columnist Jonah Goldberg describes the laws regulating abortion enacted by state legislatures in red and blue states (“Abortion debate is leaving no room between extremes,” May 24), but that's not the case with Maryland's law.

It passed the General Assembly in 1991 and was overwhelmingly approved by the voters, 62-38 percent, in a referendum. Under our law, it is the woman's decision whether to bear a child after consulting with the people she chooses. That is the case until the fetus is viable, capable of sustained survival outside the womb, in a doctor's medical judgment. After the fetus is viable, a woman can have an abortion in a limited set of circumstances.

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An abortion at that point is permitted only if the procedure is “necessary to protect the life or health of the mother” or “the fetus is affected by genetic defect or serious deformity or abnormality.” Parents are given notice in most circumstances when an unmarried minor seeks an abortion.

This law embodies the principles of Roe v. Wade. If the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe, a woman’s right to choose would still be protected in Maryland under this middle ground approach.

Samuel I. "Sandy" Rosenberg, Baltimore

The writer, a Democrat, represents District 41 in the Maryland House of Delegates.

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