Bill Emphasizes Women's Right to Know
Special Report - April 8, 2011
Yesterday, informed consent to abortion legislation was filed in the State House to ensure that women considering an abortion are provided with complete and accurate information about the procedure and their unborn child. HB 854Abortion-Woman’s Right to Know Act is primarily sponsored by Reps. Ruth Samuelson (RMecklenburg) and Pat McElraft (RCarteret). Similar legislation has been filed repeatedly over the past two decades in North Carolina without being considered. Several previous bills had sought to address some of the requirements of HB 854 in separate legislation. HB 854 streamlines many of those previous bills into a single comprehensive requirement to provide women with complete and accurate information related to pregnancy and abortion, and closes a loophole in the state’s existing parental consent law for minors seeking an abortion.
If enacted, beginning on December 1, 2011, HB 854 would require that a woman be given the following information in person or over the phone by “a physician or qualified professional” at least 24 hours before receiving an abortion:
- “The name of the physician who will perform the abortion,”
- Medical risks associated with the procedure, including psychological risks,
- “The probable gestational age of the unborn child,”
- The medical risks associated with continuing the pregnancy to term,
- Information about the opportunity to view an ultrasound and hear the heart beat of her child,
- Whether the abortionist has malpractice liability insurance,
- “The location of the hospital that offers obstetrical or gynecological care” within 30 miles where the abortionist “has clinical privileges,” should hospitalization be necessary.
Additionally, information must be provided about the resources available to the mother, should she choose to carry her child to term and either raise the baby or place the baby for adoption. The woman must certify in writing that she received this information at least 24 hours prior to undergoing an abortion procedure.
The bill also includes a requirement that an ultrasound be performed at least four hours before an abortion. The ultrasound would have to be available for the woman to view, and the physician or a qualified technician would be required to describe and explain what is being seen on the image.
Under current law, minors must have parental consent to obtain an abortion. The bill would also clarify that parental consent must be written and notarized to be considered valid.
The bill would also require the State Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to develop and print “objective, nonjudgmental,” and accurate materials to provide women with information on the “anatomical and physiological characteristics” of unborn children throughout gestation, the methods, risks, and side effects of abortion procedures. The DHHS would also be required to develop a series of materials for various areas of the state “designed to inform a woman of public and private agencies and services available to assist her through pregnancy, upon childbirth, and while the child is dependent, including adoption agencies.” All of this required material would have to also be available online.
“North Carolina women and unborn children have been waiting decades for the State to recognize the seriousness of the decision process a woman undergoes when considering an abortion, and the injustice of North Carolina’s current uninformed consent policy as it relates to that decision process,” said Bill Brooks, president of the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “Women have a right to be given complete and accurate information about pregnancy and abortion, just as they would for any other medical procedure. We are confident that the Legislature will act swiftly to pass this commonsense bill to protect the right of women to be properly informed about one of the most lasting decisions they will ever make.”
Informed Consent - FNC - Spring 2011
SC Governor Signs Pro-Life Bill - August 20, 2010
Court Upholds Informed Consent Statute - September 2, 2009
South Dakota Strengthens Informed Consent - July 28, 2008
Bill Would Uphold Life in NC- July 5, 2007
Parental Consent for Abortion- August 2002
The Importance of Informed Consent in Abortion Cases- July 2005
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