Fact Sheet: Declaration of Rights – Right to Reproductive Freedom


This referendum, which will appear on your 2024 ballot, will enshrine late-term abortion UP TO THE POINT OF BIRTH in the Maryland Constitution.  This goes far beyond the 1992 law that made Roe v. Wade the standard in Maryland, which allowed termination of pregnancies until 26 weeks.  This proposed constitutional amendment allows a woman to “end one’s own pregnancy,” at any time until the moment the child is born.  The effort misleads voters calling for undefined “reproductive freedom,” when the reality is unlimited late-term abortion.


“Every person, as a central component of an individual’s rights to liberty and equality, has the fundamental right to reproductive freedom, including but not limited to the ability to make and effectuate decisions to prevent, continue, or end one’s own pregnancy.  The State may not directly or indirectly, deny, burden, or abridge the right unless justified by a compelling State interest achieved by the least restrictive means.”  


SPONSORS of SB 798: Senators Ferguson, Hettleman, Lam, Hester, Waldstreicher, Carter, James, M Washington, Gile, Kagan, King, Kramer, Feldman, Lewis Young, Watson, Beidle, Guzzone, Elfreth, Smith, Zucker

HB 705: Delegates A. Jones, Acevero, Addison, Allen, Alston, Atterbeary, Bagnall, B. Barnes, Barve, Boafo, Boyce, Bridges, Chang, Charkoudian, Charles, Clippinger, Crutchfield, Cullison, Ebersole, Embry, Fair, Feldmark, Foley, Forbes, Fraser–Hidalgo, Grossman, Guyton, Guzzone, Harris, Harrison, Henson, Holmes, A. Johnson, S. Johnson, D. Jones, Kaiser, Kaufman, Kelly, Kerr, Korman, Lehman, J. Lewis, R. Lewis, J. Long, Lopez, Love, McCaskill, Mireku–North, Moon, Palakovich Carr, Pasteur, Patterson, Pena–Melnyk, Phillips, Pruski, Qi, Queen, Reznik, Rosenberg, Ruth, Sample–Hughes, Shetty, Simmons, Simpson, Smith, Solomon, Stein, Stewart, Taveras, Terrasa, Toles, Turner, Valderrama, Vogel, Watson, Wells, White, Wilkins, Williams, Wilson, and Ziegler


SB 798 – Chapter 244; HB 705- Chapter 245.



Amends the Declaration of Rights to the Maryland Constitution to add a Right to Reproductive Freedom.  This amendment will be a referendum question at the 2024 General Election.  

HB 705/SB 798 is so broadly written that it will allow abortion at any time from conception to birth and perhaps beyond.  The proposed amendment takes away the power of our elected representatives to regulate abortion and removes all existing health and safety measures for pregnant women and will force Maryland taxpayers to fully fund abortions even when in direct opposition to their personal beliefs and moral objections.

There is no recognition of a preborn baby’s rights as a human being to live, even after the baby reaches viability to live outside of the womb (approximately 23 weeks).  There is no protection for a baby who survives an abortion to receive medical care that is available to premature babies.  It is possible that it would allow a newborn baby to die through “a lack of action” to care for it during the perinatal period without investigation or prosecution of the mother as was proposed in HB 626 of 2022.  Reproductive freedom is not limited to adults.  It is unclear if the “fundamental right to reproductive freedom” includes the right of children and teen-age minors to eliminate their reproductive capability with gender reassignment surgery that removes their reproductive organs.

The amendment does not provide for a temporal limitation for an abortion, allowing an individual to receive an abortion up until the moment of birth. Maryland’s current temporal abortion limitation, adopted in 1992, allowed for the termination of a pregnancy up until the 26-week point. The question presented to the voters, however, will be different than the language of the amendment, opening the door to confusion and misunderstanding among voters as to what they are voting on. The question presented to the voters will read: “The proposed amendment confirms an individual’ fundamental right to an individual’s own reproductive liberty and provides the State may not, directly or indirectly, deny, burden, or abridge the right unless justified by a compelling State interest achieved by the least restrictive means.” Not only is there not temporal limitation, but question presented fails to reference that the amendment is specific to abortions, rather it uses the superfluous language of “reproductive freedom,” which can have a host of different meanings, references, components, or interpretations. This referendum passed with the requisite 3/5th of both Houses to be sent to the voters in the 2024 general election, effective May 3, 2023.

COST ESTIMATE:  Bill Fiscal Note does not provide any cost estimate.  The Maryland Right To Life estimates “Maryland taxpayers subsidize the abortion industry through direct Maryland Medicaid reimbursements to abortion providers. According to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, state taxpayers paid more than $7.6 million last year for Medicaid reimbursements to abortionists for more than 11,000 elective abortions. While Maryland is one of only three states that shields abortionists by failing to report annual abortion data to the Centers for Disease Control, Maryland Right to Life estimates that over 30,000 children are killed through abortion violence each year in Maryland.”