Md. weighs abortion restriction

By BEN NUCKOLS • Associated Press • January 16, 2011

BALTIMORE — Maryland lawmakers will consider
legislation to ban the sort of interstate abortions
performed last year by a Voorhees doctor whose
license has since been suspended.

Dr. Steven Brigham operated an abortion clinic in
Elkton. New Jersey regulators suspended his license
after finding that he was starting late-term abortions
at his Voorhees clinic, then ferrying patients to
Maryland to complete the procedures in an apparent
bid to skirt New Jersey's more restrictive abortion
laws.

Delegate Michael Smigiel, R-Cecil, has introduced
three bills intended to prevent anything similar from
happening in the future. One would mandate that an
abortion begun in Maryland must be concluded in
the state except during an emergency.

Smigiel's law office is half a block away from
Brigham's clinic, and he said he was shocked to
learn what was going on there.

Brigham's practices first caught the attention of
Maryland regulators after a patient was hospitalized
with a ruptured uterus and small intestine. Brigham
was ordered to stop practicing without a license in
the state.

Smigiel's other bills would require that abortions be
reported to the Department of Health and Mental
Hygiene and mandate that patients who suffer
complications be transported by ambulance.

Another bill, sponsored by Delegates Adelaide
Eckardt, R-Dorchester, and Pamela Beidle, D-Anne
Arundel, would reclassify abortion clinics as free-
standing surgical facilities, subjecting them to
increased regulation. Current Maryland law allows
for abortions to be performed at ordinary doctor's
offices.

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