Us & Them: The Geography of Abortion

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Senator Mike McKay was recently interviewed by West Virginia Public Broadcasting about several topics, including the political shift in Western Maryland over the last several decades.

“Republican Mike McKay has represented Western Maryland in the Maryland General Assembly since 2015, first as a delegate and, for the last year, as a senator. He said his constituents have felt out of step with their overwhelmingly liberal Democrat fellow Marylanders. In 2021, then-Del. McKay and five other Republican lawmakers floated the idea of Garrett, Allegeny and Washington counties seceding from Maryland to become a part of West Virginia. They wrote a letter to the Republican leaders of West Virginia’s legislature to gauge their interest. It was a very, very long shot.

“We sent a letter and it became a dumpster fire, to be perfectly honest,” said McKay. “Everybody went crazy – ‘How are you leaving?’ Yada yada yada. And two of our members backed out. And the rest of us out of respect really just went our separate ways.”

McKay said his constituents are more aligned with West Virginia on abortion, too. He described himself as “pro-life” and said the Women’s Health Center of Maryland is not wanted or needed.

“I had a reporter from the Washington Post call me and do an interview, and she asked me, ‘How do you feel about this abortion clinic just moving across the state line, across the Potomac?’ I said, there’s never been a need for it. If there was a need for Planned Parenthood to move here, if there was actually this need, they would have been here by now. We have had women’s health clinics here for years. Probably 90 percent of everything that Planned Parenthood provides for women. And it’s important. That 90 percent is important to urban and rural women. It’s the abortion part that I say has been forced on our community, because Annapolis and Charleston had totally two different views, and our community has had to deal with the aftermath.” — Sen. Mike McKay