NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland urges the Anne Arundel County Council an unfavorable vote on Resolution 30-18, introduced by Councilman Peroutka.
Our organization is an advocate for reproductive health, rights, and justice. We strive to ensure all childbearing individuals have the freedom to decide if, how, and when to form their families. In doing so, we acknowledge that every pregnancy is unique and honor pregnancy decision-making in all its complexity.
Resolution 30-18 calls for the county to recognize and declare the humanity of “preborn children”. As an advocate for reproductive rights, we are deeply concerned about passing a resolution by a governmental entity that explicitly establishes personhood for a fertilized egg, zygote, embryo, or fetus. This is a direct assault on the fundamental holding of Roe v. Wade, and endowing such personhood inescapably diminishes the personhood of the pregnant individual, including her rights to liberty, bodily autonomy, and medical decision-making.
As it is designed to be an anti-abortion measure, the proposed resolution denies that child-bearing individuals have reproductive freedom and self-determination in choosing to whether to add to one’s existing family. The resolution ignores the risks of carrying to term for those with serious psychological and emotional health issues in which longstanding impairment could result if the pregnancy continues. It ignores the agency of patients seeking to terminate a pregnancy where a fetal anomaly has been indicated. It could confuse medical decision-making in which the value of the fetus is placed higher than that of the human being carrying the pregnancy, resulting in necessary and timely medical care being delayed or denied. With such a resolution, there could be confusion as to whether an Anne Arundel County resident should be legally obligated to carry an unhealthy pregnancy to term, and or forced to have a child that has no chance of a life or one requiring constant medical intervention or living in chronic pain. Such a resolution creates confusion which could threaten the liberty of women and girls who have become pregnant in cases of rape, incest, and intimate partner violence.
Further, encouraging the humane treatment of “preborn children” raises concerns in legal and medical communities in which every pregnancy loss, miscarriage, or stillbirth in the county could be subject to intrusive and unnecessary criminal investigation and possible prosecution. A county that passes a resolution that seeks to protect “preborn children” could seriously interfere with residents seeking to use reproductive technology such as in vitro fertilization, when there is more concern for the welfare of fertilized eggs over the right for one to seek medical advancements to become pregnant or use a surrogate.
All Marylanders should have the freedom to decide if, when, and how to form or add to their existing families. Anne Arundel County residents should not be denied their reproductive freedom. Therefore, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland urges an unfavorable vote on Resolution 30-18. Thank you for your time and thoughtful consideration.