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3.28.24 – DC News Now – HAGERSTOWN, Md. 

Abortion clinics in Maryland could be getting state funds to create an onsite “security infrastructure.”

A bill in the General Assembly would apply the funds from a surplus in the state health insurance exchange and could be applied to surveillance cameras, staffing and lighting at reproductive care facilities in Maryland. Supporters of the idea say it will prevent harassment, stalking, assaults and bomb threats.

“People have a right to go into our clinic and that’s why we’re here,” says Rie Wilson, an escort at the Reproductive Rights Center on West Washington Street. “To give them a safe entrance, to make they choice they want to make.”

Critics of the plan have testified against the funding at the State House in Annapolis.

“It’s totally unnecessary,” says Steven Kurtz outside the Hagerstown facility. “We are just here to pray for the young women that are coming in here to have abortions and maybe they’ll have a change of mind.”

The legislation comes at a time when the state is expected to have an influx of women seeking the procedure in western Maryland.

“People in West Virginia, now that abortion is banned there,” Wilson said. “[They] can visit a clinic in Cumberland.”

In November, Maryland voters will decide if a right to an abortion should be enshrined in the state Constitution.