Fact Check: Maryland Is NOT 'About To Vote' On Pregnancy Freedom Bill

Fact Check

  • by: Christiana Dillard

STORY UPDATED: check for updates below.

Fact Check: Maryland Is NOT 'About To Vote' On Pregnancy Freedom Bill Not Even Close

Is the Maryland General Assembly "about to vote" on a controversial pregnancy "freedom" bill? Not exactly: Maryland legislators proposed the Pregnant Person's Freedom Act of 2022, which is in committee, but at the time of writing the bill is not undergoing a final vote, as implied by a social media post.

The claim was implied in a Facebook post (archived here) on March 9, 2022. The post included a link to an abortion law petition. Its caption reads:

A state legislature is about to vote on a sadistic bill that could legalize infanticide up to 28 days AFTER birth. We're taking direct action. Will you join us?

Lead Stories found that the "sadistic bill" referenced in this post was Maryland's Pregnant Person's Freedom Act of 2022, which states that pregnant persons cannot face criminal action for "perinatal death related to a failure to act." The bill was cross-filed in the Maryland General Assembly's House and Senate. Among other definitions, perinatal mortality is sometimes classified in part as the number of deaths of infants under 28 days of age. The Maryland bill is not directly related to the abortion law petition linked in the Facebook post, which is targeted at a New York abortion law.

This is what the post looked like on Facebook on March 17, 2022:

Facebook screenshot

(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Fri Mar 18 19:36 2022 UTC)

The bill is in the Maryland House Health and Government Operations Committee and was in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee.

Lead Stories called the House committee on March 16, 2022, which told us that the House version of the bill would not be voted on immediately. A screenshot of the bill's status in the House is included below:

md house bill pregnant persons.png
(Source: Maryland General Assembly screenshot taken on Wed Mar 16 18:56:50 2022 UTC)

Lead Stories reached out to the office of state Sen. Will Smith, the sponsor of the Senate version of the bill, for information on the bill's status on March 16, 2022. We were told the bill was removed from consideration in the Senate. This is reflected in the bill's history and shown in the screenshot below:

md senate bill pregnant persons.png
(Source: Maryland General Assembly screenshot taken on Wed Mar 16 18:57:51 2022 UTC)

Although it is not within the scope of this fact check, Lead Stories also contacted the bill's analyst in the House for clarification of the phrase "perinatal death related to a failure to act." We will update this story with any response.

Updates:

  • 2022-03-18T21:05:42Z 2022-03-18T21:05:42Z
    CORRECTION: A previous version of this fact check stated that the Maryland General Assembly was not "about to vote" on the bill in question because at the time of writing the bill wasn't assigned to committees in the House or Senate. This is incorrect. The bill is in the House Health and Government Operations Committee. It was also in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. We also revised the fact check to better reflect our conversation with the House Health and Government Committee.

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  Christiana Dillard

Christiana Dillard is a former news writer for Temple University’s Lew Klein College of Media and Communication. She received her undergraduate degree in English Writing from the University of Pittsburgh. She has been a freelance writer for several organizations including the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation, Pitt Magazine, and The Heinz Endowments. When she’s not producing or studying media she’s binging it, watching YouTube videos or any interesting series she can find on streaming services.

Read more about or contact Christiana Dillard

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