By BEN NUCKOLS
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.