SCS/SB 1 - This act creates the "Women's Health and Clinic Safety Act", which modifies several provisions relating to abortion, including: (1) tissue reports; (2) Attorney General jurisdiction; (3) the preemption of political subdivision authority regarding abortion; (4) whistleblower protections; and (5) inspections of abortion facilities.
TISSUE REPORTS (Section 188.047)
Under current law, a representative sample of tissue removed at the time of abortion is sent to a pathologist for examination. This provision requires that all tissue removed at the time of abortion be sent to the pathologist within twenty-four hours for gross and histopathological examination. The pathologists shall provide a copy of the tissue report to the abortion facility or hospital within seventy-two hours. If the pathological examination does not reveal the presence of a completed abortion, the pathologist shall notify the abortion facility within twenty-four hours.
The Department shall reconcile each notice of abortion with its corresponding tissue report. If the Department does not receive either a notice or a report, the Department shall conduct an investigation and, if a deficiency is discovered, shall perform an unscheduled inspection of the facility to ensure such deficiency is remedied. If the deficiency is not remedied, the Department shall suspend the abortion facility's or hospital's license for at least one year, subject to applicable licensure procedures.
Finally, this provision requires the Department, beginning January 1, 2018, to make an annual report to the General Assembly. The report shall include all reports and information received under this provision and the following for each abortion procedure reported to the Department the previous calendar year: (1) the termination procedure used; (2) whether the Department received the tissue report for that abortion; and (3) the existence and nature, if any, of any inconsistencies or concerns between the physician's abortion report to the Department and the pathologist's submitted tissue report. The report shall not disclose any personal patient information prohibited by law and shall maintain the confidentiality of all personal information of patients, facility personnel, and facility physicians.
ATTORNEY GENERAL JURISDICTION (Section 188.075)
Under this act, the Attorney General shall have concurrent original jurisdiction throughout the state, along with each prosecuting attorney and circuit attorney within their respective jurisdictions, to commence actions for any violation of the state's abortion laws. The Attorney General, or each respective prosecuting or circuit attorney, may seek injunctive or any other relief as necessary.
This provision is substantially similar to SB 196 (2017) and similar to provisions of HCS/HB 1846 (2014).
PREEMPTION OF POLITICAL SUBDIVISION AUTHORITY REGARDING ABORTION (Section 188.125)
Under this act, the General Assembly acknowledges the rights of alternatives to abortion agencies to operate freely and engage in speech without government interference, as well as the right of a person not to be compelled by the government to participate in abortion, and that the constitution and laws of the United States and Missouri shall be interpreted, construed, applied, and enforced to fully protect these rights.
A political subdivision is preempted from enacting, adopting, maintaining, or enforcing any order, ordinance, rule, regulation, policy, or other similar measure that: (1) prohibits, restricts, limits, controls, directs, interferes with, or otherwise adversely affects an alternatives to abortion agency or its officers', agents', employees', or volunteers' operations or speech; (2) has the purpose or effect of requiring a person to directly or indirectly participate in abortion if such participation is contrary to their religious beliefs or moral convictions; (3) requires a real estate broker, real estate salesperson, real estate broker-salesperson, appraisal firm, appraiser, property owner, or any other person to buy, sell, exchange, purchase, rent, lease, advertise for, or otherwise conduct real estate transactions for, to, or with an abortion facility or for, to, or with a person for the purpose of performing or inducing an abortion not necessary to save the life of the mother if such requirement is contrary to their religious beliefs or moral convictions; and (4) requires an employer, employee, health care provider, health plan provider, health plan sponsor, or any other person to provide coverage for or to participate in a health plan that includes benefits that are not otherwise required by state law. However, nothing in this act shall be construed to prohibit any political subdivision from enacting, adopting, maintaining, or enforcing any order, ordinance, rule, regulation, policy, or other similar measure to assist pregnant women to carry their unborn children to term or to assist women in caring for their dependent children or placing them for adoption.
A court may order injunctive relief with specified damages for violations of this provision. Additionally, the Attorney General may bring a cause of action to defend the rights guaranteed under this act.
Nothing in this provision shall preclude or preempt a political subdivision from exercising its lawful authority to regulate zoning or land use or to enforce a building or fire code regulation, provided that the political subdivision treats an alternatives to abortion agency in the same manner as a similarly situated agency.
This provision is identical to SS/SB 41 (2017) and SCS/HCS/HB 174 (2017) and similar to provisions in HB 99 (2015), HB 919 (2015), HB 1103 (2014), SCS/HCS/HB 1192 (2014), SB 658 (2014), HB 31 (2013), HB 717 (2013), SB 50 (2013), HB 1357 (2012), and SB 745 (2012).
WHISTLEBLOWER PROTECTIONS (Section 188.160)
Every hospital, ambulatory surgical center, pathology laboratory, medical research entity, and any other facility involved in elective abortions shall establish and implement a written policy relating to protections for employees who disclose information concerning actual, potential, or alleged violations of applicable federal or state laws or administrative rules, regulations, or standards. The Department may adopt rules, regulations, or standards regarding the establishment and implementation of such policies.
ABORTION FACILITY INSPECTIONS (Section 197.230)
This provision requires the Department to conduct annual, unannounced, on-site inspections and investigations of abortion facilities. These inspections shall, at a minimum, include the following areas: (1) compliance with all statutory and regulatory requirements for an abortion facility, including requirements that the facility maintain adequate staffing and equipment to respond to medical emergencies; (2) compliance with statutory requirements relating to pathologist tissue reports; (3) compliance with state law prohibiting the use of public funds, facilities, and employees to perform or assist a prohibited abortion or to encourage or counsel a women to have a prohibited abortion; and (4) compliance with the requirement in state law that continuous physician or registered professional nursing services be provided whenever a patient is in the facility. Additionally, the inspection and investigation reports shall be available to the public, provided that information not subject to disclosure under the law be redacted.
This act has an emergency clause.
Provisions of this act are identical or substantially similar to SS/SB 67 (2017) and similar to SCS/SB 644 (2016) and HCS/HBs 2069 & 2371 (2016).