June 24, 2022 was a day that has forever tangled itself in American history. On that Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court deconstructed the most fundamental of abortion rights in America with the overturning of Roe v. Wade. But for Baltimore, it was the day the city became a refuge for abortion-seekers.
Roe v. Wade was a 1973 court case between Norma McCorvey, publicly known under the fictitious name Jane Roe, and district attorney Henry Wade. Roe became pregnant with her third child in 1969 and wanted an abortion, but she lived in Texas where abortion was illegal except when necessary to save the mother’s life. Roe alleged that Texas’s abortion laws were unconstitutional and the court decided in her favor, but almost 50 years later, the ruling was overturned.
Later that very same afternoon, Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott announced that the city would allocate $300,000 in grants to abortion and family-planning services. “…It is crucial that we invest in abortion…so that we can welcome women seeking these services with open arms. We are morally obligated to make Baltimore a safe haven for care-seekers….” said Mayor Scott.
The new funds are shaping Baltimore into a more abortion-forward city. Earlier in the month, the City Council designated Baltimore as an Abortion Rights Protection Jurisdiction. It was also announced that Baltimore will be more closely monitoring suspected crimes occuring around abortion clinics or directed towards abortion-seekers. The city continues to defend women’s autonomy, with the help of organizations like Planned Parenthood.
Baltimore’s Planned Parenthood is a leading provider of abortion in the city. Baltimore resident Taylor DeVille, who received an abortion through Baltimore Planned Parenthood, said, “I was lucky to have the resources that I did in Baltimore.”
Baltimore’s Planned Parenthood works closely with the Baltimore Abortion Fund, a nonprofit assisting people with uteruses in procuring abortions. The Baltimore Abortion Fund provides an average of $4,500 to every pregnant person it helps, covering transportation, hotel room fees, and childcare. In 2021, the Fund assisted 1, 500 people in abortions, and director Lynn McCann says she anticipates call volumes will double post-Roe. Other clinics recorded performing abortions for about 15 patients per week before Roe v. Wade and in the months following it, some describe as many as 24 patients in a week.
The influx of abortion-seekers is also due to Baltimore’s location. Maryland, sometimes called “the southernmost safe state”, is also close to several states where abortion is legal but severely restricted, such as North Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia. Because of Baltimore’s proximity to abortion deadzones and the city’s high level of abortion-accessibility, Baltimore has seen a rapid increase in people arriving from other states for abortions.
As abortion begins to become a chained right in many parts of America, Baltimore is becoming a city wholeheartedly in favor of entitlement to safe, accessible abortion.