SB 264 - This act modifies the informed consent requirements for an abortion by adding new requirements to be obtained at least twenty-four hours prior to an abortion. Some of the new requirements include presenting to the pregnant woman various new printed materials and videos, to be developed by the Department of Health and Senior Services by November 30, 2009, detailing the risks of an abortion and the physiological characteristics of an unborn child at two-week gestational increments. The woman must also be provided with the gestational age of the unborn child at the time the abortion is to be performed and must be given an opportunity to view, at least 24 hours prior to an abortion, an active ultrasound of the unborn child and hear the heartbeat of the unborn child, if the heartbeat is audible. Prior to an abortion being performed past twenty-two weeks gestational age, the woman must be provided information regarding the possibility of the abortion causing pain to the unborn child. The materials presented to the woman shall also prominently display a statement that no one can coerce the woman to have an abortion and that it is against the law for a husband, a boyfriend, a parent, a friend, a medical care provider, or any other person to coerce her in any way to have an abortion.
In addition to the written informed consent, the act requires the physician or a qualified professional to discuss the medical assistance and counseling resources available, advise the woman of the father's liability for child support, and provide information about the Alternatives to Abortion Program. All information required to be provided to a woman shall be presented to her individually in the physical presence of the woman. The abortion cannot be performed until the woman certifies in writing on a checklist form that she has been presented all the required information and that she has been given the opportunity to view an ultrasound, and to choose to have an anesthetic or analgesic administered to the unborn child.
This act also creates the crime of knowingly coercing a woman to seek or obtain an abortion. Such coercion includes committing or threatening to do the following against a pregnant woman or her family: assault, domestic assault, stalking or aggravated stalking, or any other criminal offense, as well as committing, attempting or threatening to: forcibly or without the pregnant woman's knowledge causing a woman to ingest a substance with the intent to cause an abortion, discharging the woman from her employment, or revoking a scholarship awarded to the woman. A violation of coercing an abortion may range from a Class A felony to a Class A misdemeanor, depending on the prescribed circumstances. This act also creates the crime of knowingly performing, inducing or assisting in an abortion on a woman who is a victim of coerced abortion. The elements of the crime are specified in the act and a violation of such crime constitutes a Class C felony.
This act is substantially similar to HCS/HBs 46 & 434 (2009), and HB 1178 (2009), SB 1058 (2008) and HCS/HBs 1831 & 1472 (2008).