The Supreme Court’s decision to overturn Roe v. Wade, ending the constitutional right to an abortion, has been condemned by the three Democratic front runners in the primary race for Montgomery County executive.
Current County Executive Marc Elrich, at-large Council member Hans Riemer and entrepreneur and philanthropist David Blair all expressed support for a woman’s right to choose, and for codifying abortion access into Maryland’s constitution.
The primary election is scheduled for July 19, though early voting begins on July 7. Mail-in ballots can be postmarked or placed in a designated ballot drop box as late as 8 p.m. on July 19.
“People are free to follow their own beliefs, but they are not free to impose their beliefs on anyone else, which is what this decision has permitted,” Elrich said in an email released by his campaign. “This court is dragging this country back to the dark ages and has seriously overstepped its bounds.”
Elrich has announced a travel ban on conferences held in states that restrict women’s rights, he continued, in order to keep the county’s dollars from going to those states or businesses there. He is also exploring an advertising campaign designed to lure businesses and employees in states restricting abortion to Montgomery County.
“I believe that a lot of employees and companies may feel uncomfortable or at-risk if they stay in Texas and might want to relocate to a place that welcomes all people,” Elrich said.
Elrich added that, to increase the number of abortion providers, he had allocated $1 million for supporting clinics and health practitioners, training health providers and supporting women who may come to Montgomery County for reproductive services. He said “Maryland and Montgomery County will not be affected, in terms of our policies by this decision and our policies would be very hard to overturn.”
Meanwhile, Riemer expressed concern over the effect the ruling could have on Montgomery County residents.
“It will affect us profoundly,” said Riemer in an email released by his campaign. “Knowing that our basic rights have been taken away diminishes us all.”
Riemer also stated that Jewish law mandates the termination of a pregnancy if the health of the mother is at risk.
“In other words, the ban on abortion violates religious freedom and elevates the religious views of some over all of us and over our own faith traditions,” Riemer said.
If elected as county executive, Riemer pledged to help providers of health care and abortion care to increase their capacity as people travel to the county for their services.
Blair also shared his disapproval of the Supreme Court ruling.
“The Supreme Court majority was wrong on all merits,” said Blair, in an email from his campaign. “It’s a devastating decision to see in black and white because it denies people their basic individual freedoms to make their own health decisions.”
If elected, Blair promised to make ensuring the safety and security of individuals seeking access to reproductive health care in Montgomery County his top priority. He added that he would work to increase the security of abortion health care providers, financially support organizations that support access to reproductive health care and help health care providers to expand their services.
“In Montgomery County, we will always protect the right to have an abortion,” said Blair. “And with the talent and influence of our people, we will be able to fight to protect and expand that right. … I believe in our power to make this right.”