HB 483-FN – AS INTRODUCED
HOUSE BILL 483-FN
This bill requires the physician who performs an abortion, or the referring physician, to provide the pregnant woman with certain information at least 24 hours prior to the abortion, and to obtain her consent that she has received such information.
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Explanation: Matter added to current law appears in bold italics.
Matter removed from current law appears [
in brackets and struckthrough.]
Matter which is either (a) all new or (b) repealed and reenacted appears in regular type.
STATE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE
In the Year of Our Lord Two Thousand Thirteen
AN ACT relative to information regarding abortion.
Be it Enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court convened:
132-B:1 Title. This act shall be known as the “Abortion Information Act.”
132-B:2 Legislative Findings and Purposes.
I. The general court finds that:
(a) It is essential to the psychological and physical well-being of a woman considering an abortion that she receive complete and accurate information on abortion and its alternatives.
(b) The knowledgeable exercise of a woman’s decision to have an abortion depends on the extent to which she receives sufficient information to make an informed choice between 2 alternatives: giving birth or having an abortion.
(c) Adequate and legitimate informed consent includes information which “relates to the consequences to the fetus.” Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 882-883 (1992).
(d) Many abortions are performed in clinics devoted solely to providing abortions and family planning services. Most women who seek abortions at these facilities do not have any relationship with the physician who performs the abortion, before or after the procedure. They do not return to the facility for post-surgical care. In most instances, the woman’s only actual contact with the physician occurs simultaneously with the abortion procedure, with little opportunity to receive counseling concerning her decision.
(e) The decision to abort “is an important, and often a stressful one, and it is desirable and imperative that it be made with full knowledge of its nature and consequences.” Planned Parenthood v. Danforth, 428 U.S. 52, 67 (1976).
(f) “The medical, emotional, and psychological consequences of an abortion are serious and can be lasting....” H.L. v. Matheson, 450 U.S. 398, 411 (1981).
(g) Abortion facilities or providers often offer only limited or impersonal counseling opportunities.
(h) Many abortion facilities or providers hire untrained and unprofessional “counselors” to provide pre-abortion counseling, but whose primary goal is actually to “sell” or promote abortion services.
II. Based on the findings in paragraph I, the purposes of this chapter is to:
(a) Ensure that every woman considering an abortion receives complete information on abortion and its alternatives and that every woman submitting to an abortion does so only after giving her voluntary and fully-informed consent to the abortion procedure.
(b) Reduce “the risk that a woman may elect an abortion, only to discover later, with devastating psychological consequences, that her decision was not fully informed.” Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833, 882 (1992).
(c) Adopt the construction of the term “medical emergency” accepted by the U.S. Supreme Court in Planned Parenthood v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992).
132-B:3 Definitions. In this chapter:
I. “Abortion” means the act of using or prescribing any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance, device, or means with the intent to terminate the clinically diagnosable pregnancy of a woman with knowledge that the termination by those means will with reasonable likelihood cause the death of the unborn child. Such use, prescription, or means is not an abortion if done with the intent to:
(a) Save the life or preserve the health of an unborn child;
(b) Remove a dead unborn child caused by spontaneous abortion; or
(c) Remove an ectopic pregnancy.
II. “Complication” means any adverse physical or psychological condition arising from the performance of an abortion, which includes but is not limited to: uterine perforation, cervical perforation, infection, bleeding, hemorrhage, blood clots, failure to actually terminate the pregnancy, incomplete abortion (retained tissue), pelvic inflammatory disease, endometritis, missed ectopic pregnancy, cardiac arrest, respiratory arrest, renal failure, metabolic disorder, shock, embolism, coma, placenta previa in subsequent pregnancies, preterm delivery in subsequent pregnancies, free fluid in the abdomen, adverse reactions to anesthesia and other drugs; any psychological or emotional complications such as depression, anxiety, and sleeping disorders; and any other “adverse event” as defined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) criteria provided in the Medwatch Reporting System. The department may further define “complication.”
III. “Conception” means the fusion of a human spermatozoon with a human ovum.
IV. “Department” means the department of health and human services.
V. “Facility” or “medical facility” means any public or private hospital, clinic, center, medical school, medical training institution, health care facility, physician’s office, infirmary, dispensary, ambulatory surgical treatment center, or other institution or location wherein medical care is provided to any person.
VI. “First trimester” means the first 12 weeks of gestation.
VII. “Gestational age” means the time that has elapsed since the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period.
VIII. “Hospital” means a facility licensed under RSA 151.
IX. “Medical emergency” means that condition which, on the basis of the physician’s good faith clinical judgment, so complicates the medical condition of a pregnant woman as to necessitate the immediate termination of her pregnancy to avert her death or for which a delay will create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.
X. “Physician” means any person licensed under RSA 329. The term includes medical doctors and doctors of osteopathy.
XI. “Pregnant” or “pregnancy” means that female reproductive condition of having an unborn child in the woman’s uterus.
XII. “Qualified person” means an agent of the physician who is a psychologist, licensed social worker, licensed professional counselor, registered nurse, or physician.
XIII. “Unborn child” means the offspring of human beings from conception until birth.
132-B:4 Informed Consent Requirement. No abortion shall be performed or induced without the voluntary and informed consent of the woman upon whom the abortion is to be performed or induced. Except in the case of a medical emergency, consent to an abortion is voluntary and informed if and only if:
I. At least 24 hours before the abortion, the physician who is to perform the abortion or the referring physician has informed the woman, orally and in person, of the following:
(a) The name of the physician who will perform the abortion;
(b) Medically-accurate information that a reasonable patient would consider material to the decision of whether or not to undergo the abortion, including (1) a description of the proposed abortion method; (2) the immediate and long-term medical risks associated with the proposed abortion method including, but not limited to, the risks of infection, hemorrhage, cervical or uterine perforation, and danger to subsequent pregnancies; and (3) alternatives to the abortion;
(c) The probable gestational age of the unborn child at the time the abortion is to be performed;
(d) The probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the unborn child at the time the abortion is to be performed; and
(e) The medical risks associated with carrying her child to term.
II. At least 24 hours before the abortion, the physician who is to perform the abortion, the referring physician, or a qualified person has informed the woman, orally and in person, that:
(a) Medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care, and that more detailed information on the availability of such assistance is contained in the printed materials.
(b) The printed materials shall list agencies that offer alternatives to abortion.
(c) The father of the unborn child is liable to assist in the support of this child, even in instances where he has offered to pay for the abortion. In the case of rape or incest, this information may be omitted.
(d) She is free to withhold or withdraw her consent to the abortion at any time without affecting her right to future care or treatment and without the loss of any state or federally-funded benefits to which she might otherwise be entitled.
III. At least 24 hours before the abortion, the woman is given a copy of the printed materials. If the woman is unable to read the materials, they shall be read to her. If the woman asks questions concerning any of the information or materials, answers shall be provided to her in a language she can understand.
IV. Prior to the abortion, the woman certifies in writing on a checklist form provided or approved by the department that the printed information required to be provided under RSA 132-B:5 has been provided.
V. Except in the case of a medical emergency, the physician who is to perform the abortion shall receive and sign a copy of the written certification prescribed in paragraph IV of this section prior to performing the abortion. The physician shall retain a copy of the checklist certification form in the woman’s medical record.
VI. In the event of a medical emergency requiring an immediate termination of pregnancy, the physician who performed the abortion shall clearly certify in writing the nature of the medical emergency and the circumstances which necessitated the waiving of the informed consent requirements of this chapter. This certification shall be signed by the physician who performed the emergency abortion, and shall be permanently filed in both the records of the physician performing the abortion and the records of the facility where the abortion takes place.
VII. A physician shall not require or obtain payment for a service provided to a patient who has inquired about an abortion or scheduled an abortion until the expiration of the 24-hour reflection period required in this section.
132-B:5 Publication of Materials.
I. The department shall cause to be published printed materials in English and Spanish within 90 days after this chapter becomes law.
II.(a) On an annual basis, the department shall review and update, if necessary, the following easily comprehensible printed materials:
(1) Geographically indexed materials that inform the woman of public and private agencies and services available to assist a woman through pregnancy, upon childbirth, and while her child is dependent, including but not limited to adoption agencies.
(2) A comprehensive list of the agencies, a description of the services they offer, and the telephone numbers and addresses of the agencies, and shall inform the woman about available medical assistance benefits for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care.
(b) The department shall ensure that the materials described in this section are comprehensive and do not directly or indirectly promote, exclude, or discourage the use of any agency or service described in this section.
(c) The materials shall state that it is unlawful for any individual to coerce a woman to undergo an abortion and that if a minor is denied financial support by the minor’s parents, guardian, or custodian due to the minor’s refusal to have an abortion performed, the minor shall be deemed emancipated for the purposes of eligibility for public-assistance benefits, except that such benefits may not be used to obtain an abortion. The materials shall also state that any physician who performs an abortion upon a woman without her informed consent may be liable to her for damages in a civil action at law and that the law permits adoptive parents to pay costs of prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care. The materials shall also include the following statement:
“There are many public and private agencies willing and able to help you to carry your child to term, and to assist you and your child after your child is born, whether you choose to keep your child or to place her or him for adoption. The state of New Hampshire strongly urges you to contact one or more of these agencies before making a final decision about abortion. The law requires that your physician or his or her agent give you the opportunity to call agencies like these before you undergo an abortion.”
132-B:6 Medical Emergencies. When a medical emergency compels the performance of an abortion, the physician shall inform the woman, before the abortion if possible, of the medical indications supporting the physician’s judgment that an immediate abortion is necessary to avert her death or that a 24-hour delay will cause substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.
132-B:7 Civil Penalties.
I. In addition to any and all remedies available under the common or statutory law of this state, failure to comply with the requirements of this chapter shall:
(a) Provide a basis for a civil malpractice action for actual and punitive damages.
(b) Provide a basis for a professional disciplinary action under RSA 329.
II. No civil liability may be assessed against the female upon whom the abortion is performed.
III. When requested, the court shall allow a woman to proceed using solely her initials or a pseudonym and may close any proceedings in the case and enter other protective orders to preserve the privacy of the woman upon whom the abortion was performed.
IV. If judgment is rendered in favor of the plaintiff, the court shall also render judgment for a reasonable attorney’s fee in favor of the plaintiff against the defendant.
V. If judgment is rendered in favor of the defendant and the court finds that the plaintiff’s suit was frivolous and brought in bad faith, the court shall also render judgment for reasonable attorney’s fees in favor of the defendant against the plaintiff.
132-B:8 Construction. Nothing in this chapter shall be construed as creating or recognizing a right to abortion. It is not the intention of this law to make lawful an abortion that is currently unlawful.
132-B:9 Right of Intervention. The general court, by joint resolution, may appoint one or more of its members, who sponsored or cosponsored this chapter in his or her official capacity, to intervene as a matter of right in any case in which the constitutionality of this chapter is challenged.
132-B:10 Severability. If any provision of this chapter or the application thereof to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the invalidity does not affect other provisions or applications of the chapter which can be given effect without the invalid provisions or applications, and to this end the provisions of this chapter are severable.
2 Effective Date. This act shall take effect January 1, 2014.
HB 483-FN - FISCAL NOTE
AN ACT relative to information regarding abortion.
Due to time constraints, the Office of Legislative Budget Assistant is unable to provide a fiscal note for this bill, as introduced, at this time. When completed, the fiscal note will be forwarded to the House Clerk's Office.