SS/SCS/SB 793 - 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 the physician who is to perform or induce the abortion or a qualified professional presenting to the pregnant woman various new printed materials to be developed by the Department of Health and Senior Services by November 30, 2010, 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.
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 requires the physician or qualified professional to provide the woman with access to a telephone and information about rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters and obtaining orders of protection should the physician have reason to believe the woman is being coerced into having an abortion.
This act also amends the current informed consent provision, Section 188.039, by providing that informed consent may be obtained by the physician who is to perform or induce the abortion or a qualified professional.
Notwithstanding any other provision in law allowing a person to provide services related to pregnancy, delivery and postpartum services, no person other than a licensed physician can perform or induce an abortion. Anyone violating the provision is guilty of a class B felony.
This act also modifies health insurance provisions relating to abortion. Under current law, health insurance policies are barred from providing coverage for elective abortions except through optional riders. Under this act, health insurance exchanges established in Missouri are prohibited from offering coverage for elective abortions through the purchase of optional riders. This provision is also contained in SB 747 (2010).
This act is similar to provisions in SB 264 (2009) and HBs 1327 & 2000 (2010).