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Maryland Prepares For Increase In Patients After Roe V. Wade Overturned

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- Maryland has some of the strongest abortion protections in the country, and many women from other states are expected to turn here for access to the procedure.

In Baltimore, abortion rights supporters gathered at the federal courthouse downtown after the stunning Supreme Court decision.

Amy Blank told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren that she cried after learning the news.

"We're a safe state, and if I have to be a safe home for women outside of Maryland, I will be," Blank said. "I sobbed for all of those who will not have the freedoms that we in Maryland have put in place."

On the other side of the debate, Linda told WJZ the decision was a good "first step." 

"I'm thrilled that Roe V Wade has finally been overturned," she said. "I just want more balance to the system."

Maryland protected abortion with a 1992 voter referendum. 

This year, lawmakers in the General Assembly expanded access, allowing nurses and midwives and not just doctors to perform the procedure. 

Lawmakers also authorized millions of dollars to train medical professionals, which Gov. Larry Hogan has yet to release, and mandated insurance cover abortions.

"They don't want elected officials interfering in those most personal and private decisions," Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen said. "This question of reproductive freedom and choice will be a big issue in elections across the country."

Maryland Senator Ben Cardin told WJZ that he and other lawmakers would like to codify Roe v. Wade. 

"We tried that earlier in this Congress, and we did not even get the 50 votes in regards to that issue," Cardin said. "So, the support to do what we really need to do to protect women will require a change in the makeup of Congress."

While many Democrats in Maryland's federal delegation are vowing fight for abortion access, Baltimore's Archbishop said the Supreme Court made the right decision. 

"I'm very thankful to hear this," William Lori said in a prepared video statement posted to YouTube. "I think it is good news for our nation. I think it is good news for the cause of life." 

The Basilica closed downtown out of an abundance of caution Friday.

The sole Republican in Maryland's federal delegation, Rep. Andy Harris, praised the high court. 

"As I have long said, human life is worthy of protection from conception until its natural end, and I am thankful that this ruling now affirms that," Harris wrote in a statement. "It is my hope that this decision will be respected on the legal merits upon which it was written."

Baltimore's Mayor Brandon Scott said after the U.S. Supreme Court announced its decision that he was making $300,000 available to abortion providers. 

"It is crucial that we invest in abortion and family planning so that we can welcome women seeking these services with open arms," he said. "We are morally obligated to make Baltimore a safe haven for care-seekers, and we are committed to doing just that," the mayor said.

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