O'Brien: In Md., abortion not safe or rare

 

Archbishop Edwin F. O'Brien

 
  9/8/2010
 

Your Sept. 3 front page story, "Abortion doctors suspended after woman suffers injury," is a shocking reminder of a reality too often ignored: Legal abortion may be fiercely protected in Maryland, but it is a far cry from being safe or rare. The story, and a sincere concern for the safety of women, should prompt strict scrutiny of Maryland's permissive abortion laws and an honest effort to learn why these unscrupulous practitioners were attracted to our state in order to commit such atrocities.

Too often, Maryland's lawmakers have steadfastly refused to consider even the mildest restrictions on abortion, including stricter regulations on abortion clinics that might have prevented this horrendous abuse of clients. Laws have been repeatedly rejected, for instance, to require abortion clinics to follow the same regulations as other ambulatory surgical centers, so that clinics continue to be allowed to operate simply as doctors' offices.

Ironically, elected officials, fueled by the extreme agenda of the abortion industry, have instead focused on "regulating" pro-life pregnancy centers for the supposed harm they do providing free, life-affirming services to women facing crisis pregnancies. As a result, Baltimore City now holds the dubious distinction of passing the nation's first law targeting pregnancy centers that do not perform abortions or provide birth control. Montgomery County quickly followed in passing a similar regulation. With pro bono legal assistance, the Archdiocese of Baltimore has challenged the constitutionality of that law, and we hope that more reasoned - and less political - deliberations will lead to its undoing.

We continue to pray for all those harmed by abortion, most especially the unborn and their mothers. We pray too that our elected officials will finally have the courage and wisdom to shake off the undue influence of pro-abortion special interests in Maryland. It is time to enact laws in our state that genuinely protect vulnerable pregnant women, even those who wish to choose life.

Edwin F. O'Brien, Baltimore.

The writer is Archbishop of Baltimore.