2019 U.S. Abortion Legislation

 In News

Last updated on July 20, 2019.

Abortion is in the news nearly every day.  In 2016 it escalated with videos that exposed corrupt practices taking place at Planned Parenthood.  Then earlier this year, Virginia’s governor made controversial statements supporting late-term abortion.  Now several states have passed new abortion laws with more states on the way. Below you’ll find an in-depth look at abortion legislation across the country.

ALABAMA

The Alabama Human Life Protection Act or House Bill 314 (HB 314) was signed into law on Wednesday, May 15, 2019 by Governor Kay Ivey. It is set to go into action in November 2019. 

  • Unborn children in utero are referred to as a person regardless of their stage of development or viability.
  • An abortion performed in violation with the act will be considered a Class A felony.
  • An attempted abortion performed in violation with the act will be considered a Class C felony.
  • Exceptions within the act:
    • Removal of ectopic pregnancies
    • Removal of a dead unborn child
    • Termination of preborn babies with lethal anomalies
    • To prevent serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother
    • Cases of mental illness that could lead to actions where a woman may harm herself or her unborn baby.
  • No woman who an abortion has been performed on or attempted on will be criminally or civilly liable.
  • No physician performing an abortion or attempting to perform an abortion who as abided by the act will be criminally or civilly liable.

MISSISSIPPI

The Mississippi Legislature took a stand for life this year by presenting a Heartbeat Bill (Senate Bill 2116)  in their 2019 session. The bill was signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant on Thursday, March 21, 2019 and was set to go into effect on July 1st.

A preliminary injunction blocking the bill was later issued on Friday, May 24, 2019 by U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves, currently leaving the fate of the bill in the air.

  • An unborn human individual is defined as an individual organism of the specie homo sapiens from fertilization until live birth.
  • An abortion cannot be performed once a fetal heartbeat has been detected.
  • If a physician is found in violation of this bill they will be subject to non-issuance, suspension, revocation or restriction of a license or the denial of reinstatement or renewal of a license.
  • Exceptions to the bill are as follows:
    • To prevent the death of the pregnant woman.
    • To prevent serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the woman.

Resources: Senate Bill 2116, CNN

OHIO

The Ohio Senate and House passed a “Heartbeat” Bill (Senate Bill 23) on Wednesday, April 10, 2019 and it was signed into law by Governor Mike DeWine the following day.

On July 3, 2019, Senior U.S. District Judge Michale Barrett issued a preliminary injunction on the bill temporarily preventing the state from enforcing the law.  On July 11, 2019, the Heartbeat Bill officially became law with some amendments.

  • An abortion cannot be performed once a heartbeat is detected.
  • An abortion performed in violation of this bill will be considered a felony of the fifth degree.
  • Physicians found in violation could be subject to civil action for compensatory and exemplary damages and/or disciplinary actions, including loss or suspension of medical licensing.
  • Exceptions are as follows:
    • A medical emergency is presented.
    • The pregnant woman has a medical necessity that could complicate the pregnancy.

Resources: Senate Bill 23, CBS

LOUISIANA

On Wednesday, May 29, 2019, Louisiana’s “Heartbeat” Bill or Senate Bill 184 passed the house vote 79-23. It was signed into law the following Thursday, May 30th, by Democratic Governor John Bel Edwards. The law will only go into effect if the federal appeals court upholds the similar law passed in Mississippi.

  • An ultrasound must be performed prior to any abortion procedure to determine whether or not there is a fetal heartbeat.
  • An abortion cannot be performed once a fetal heartbeat has been detected.
  • If a physician is found in violation of the bill they will be subject to imprisonment and/or fines.
  • If a physician is found in violation of the billy they may also be subject to non-issuance, suspension, revocation, or restriction of a license, or the denial of reinstatement or renewal of a license issued by the Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners.
  • Exceptions to the bill are as follows:
    • To prevent the death of a pregnant woman.
    • To prevent serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the woman.
    • The pregnancy is diagnosed as “medically futile”. 
    • The pregnant woman has a medical necessity that could complicate the pregnancy.

Resources: Senate Bill 184, CNN

GEORGIA

Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed the Living Infants Fairness and Equality (LIFE) Act or House Bill 481 into law on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. The act is set to go into effect on January 1, 2020. 

  • The State of Georgia recognizes that unborn children are natural persons.
  • No abortion shall be performed if a heartbeat is detected.
  • Exemptions to the bill are as follows:
    • Removal of ectopic pregnancies.
    • Removal of a dead unborn child.
    • Termination of preborn babies who are considered medically futile.
    • To prevent the death of a pregnant woman.
    • To prevent serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the woman.
    • Pregnancy that is 20 weeks or older that is the result of rape or incest with a police report on file.
  • In conducting an abortion, medical aid must be given if a child is capable of sustained life.
  • Abortions performed after the first trimester must be performed in a licensed hospital, surgical center or facility.
  • Medical records of women who have received an abortion must be open to district attorney of the judicial circuit in which the hospital/facility the abortion was performed in resides or where the woman who received the abortion resides.
  • Physicians in violation are subject to civil and professional penalties.
  • Physicians in violation are subject to licensing sanctions. 

MISSOURI

The Missouri Stands for the Unborn Act or House Bill 126 was signed into law on Friday, May 24, 2019 by Governor Mike Parson. The law is set to go into effect on August 28, 2019. The American Civil Liberties Union of Missouri submitted a referendum petition to overturn the measure with a public vote in the November 2020 general election. The ACLU has until August 28th to gather more than 100,000 signatures needed for the petition.

  • Defends the right to life for all born and unborn humans.
  • The state of Missouri is a “sanctuary of life” and protects a pregnant woman and her unborn child.
  • No abortion will be performed at eight weeks or later.
  • Exceptions within the act:
    • To prevent the death of the pregnant woman.
    • To prevent serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the woman.
  • An abortion performed in violation with this act will be considered a Class B felony.
  • Physicians found in violation of this act will be subject to suspension or revocation of their professional licenses.
  • The pregnant woman found in violation of this act will not be prosecuted.

KENTUCKY

Kentucky legislature was busy working to protect life during their last session. They ultimately passed four anti-abortion measures this year, all signed into law by Governor Matt Bevin.

House Bill 5: Abortion “Discrimination” Bill was signed into immediate law due to it’s emergency declaration on Tuesday, March 19, 2019. The ACLU quickly challenged the bill and U.S. District Judge David Hale placed a temporary block on the law until the ACLU lawsuit has been completed.

  • Protecting the rights of unborn children.
  • A woman’s right to self-determination or bodily autonomy are separate and distinct from the termination of a pregnancy based on the unborn child’s sex, race, color, national origin, or disability.
  • An abortion cannot be performed or attempted for any of the following reasons:
    • The sex of the unborn child.
    • The race, color or national origin of the unborn child.
    • The diagnosis or potential diagnoses of Down Syndrome or any other disability (i.e. Physical, Mental or Intellectual Disabilities, Physical Disfigurement, Dwarfism, Scoliosis, Albinism, Amelia, or Physical or Mental Diseases).
  • Exceptions that apply:
    • Lethal fetal anomaly.
    • To prevent the death of the pregnant woman.
    • To prevent serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the woman.
  • Physicians found in violation of the act will have their license revoked.
  • Abortion facilities found in violation will have their licenses revoked.

Senate Bill 9: The Fetal Heartbeat Bill was signed into immediate law due to it’s emergency declaration after midnight on Friday, March 15, 2019. At 7:40pm that same Friday, U.S. District Judge David Hale placed a temporary block on the law. The law cannot be enforced until the final ruling of the ACLU’s lawsuit against this bill.

  • An abortion cannot be performed once a fetal heartbeat has been detected.
  • If a fetal heartbeat is detected, the physician must offer to allow the pregnant woman to see or hear it if she wishes.
  • Exceptions that apply:
    • No fetal heartbeat was found.
    • To prevent the death of the pregnant woman.
    • To prevent serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the woman.
  • The Cabinet of Health and Family Services can inspect the medical records from any facility that performs abortions to ensure those performing abortions are doing so in compliance with the law.
  • Physicians/Abortion providers found in violation of this bill are guilty of a felony.

Senate Bill 50: The “Abortion Reversal” Bill was signed into law on Tuesday, March 26, 2019 and went into effect on Thursday, June 27, 2019.

  • Information on the potential ability of a physician to reverse the effects of a chemical abortion must be provided to anyone who receives a prescription for RU-486, Cytotec, Pitocin, Mifeprex, Misoprostol, or any other drug or combination of drugs used to induce an abortion.
  • Reporting Requirements:
    • All abortions must be reported to the Vital Statistics Branch within 15 days after the end of the month in which the abortion was performed.
    • Prescriptions for RU-486, Cytotec, Pitocin, Mifeprex, Misoprostol, or any other drug or combination of drugs used to induce abortion must be reported to the Vital Statistics Branch within 15 days after the end of the month in which they were prescribed.
    • For each abortion reported, any of of the following physical or psychological conditions known to the provider must be reported:
      • Uterine laceration
      • Cervical laceration
      • Infection
      • Heavy bleeding that causes symptoms of hypovolemia or the need for a 24 blood transfusion
      • Pulmonary embolism
      • Deep vein thrombosis
      • Failure to terminate the pregnancy
      • Incomplete abortion or retained tissue
      • Pelvic inflammatory disease
      • Missed ectopic pregnancy
      • Cardiac arrest
      • Respiratory arrest
      • Renal failure
      • Shock
      • Amniotic fluid embolism
      • Coma
      • Placenta Previa in subsequent pregnancies
      • Pre-term delivery in subsequent pregnancies
      • Free fluid in the abdomen
      • Hemolytic reaction due to the administration of ABO-incompatible blood or blood products
      • Hypoglycemia occurring while the patient is being treated at the abortion facility
      • Allergic reaction to anesthesia or abortion-inducing drugs
      • Psychological complications including depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, and sleeping disorders
      • Death
    • By September 30th of every year, Vital Statistics must provide an annual report for the previous year based on information received.
    • Any person or institution who fails to submit a report by the end of 30 days following the due date is subject to a $500 late fee for each additional 30 day period or portion of a 30 day period the report is overdue.
    • Any person or institute who fails to submit a report, or has only submitted a partial report, more than 1 year following the due date is subject to a civil action brought on by the Vital Statistics Branch and may be directed by a court to submit a complete report in a specific timeline or be subject to contempt of court.
    • Failure by any physician to comply may result in denial, probation, suspension, or revocation of licenses and permits. Falsification of any report will result in a Class A misdemeanor. 

House Bill 148: The Human Life Protection Act was signed into law on Tuesday, March 26, 2019. The act is considered a “trigger” law, which means if the Supreme Court were to overturn Roe v. Wade, there would be a triggered statewide ban on abortion.

  • Performing an abortion by any means will be illegal.
  • Anyone found in violation of this act will be guilty of a Class D felony.
  • Exceptions within the act:
    • To prevent the death of the pregnant woman.
      • Reasonable medical efforts under the circumstances to preserve both the life of the mother and the life of the unborn child must be taken.
    • To prevent serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the woman.
      • Reasonable medical efforts under the circumstances to preserve both the life of the mother and the life of the unborn child must be taken.
    • Medical treatment provided to the mother by a licensed physician which results in the accidental or unintentional injury or death to the unborn child.
  • The pregnant woman who an abortion is performed on or attempted to be performed on will not be subject to criminal conviction or penalty.
  • The sell, use or prescription of contraceptives prior to the time a pregnancy can be detected is not prohibited. 

ARKANSAS

Arkansas also worked to pass multiple pro-life laws this year. Three bills that Governor Asa Hutchinson signed into law are being challenged in federal court by the ACLU and numerous abortion clinics and providers. The hearing is set to take place on Monday, July 22, 2019 in Little Rock. 

The Cherish Act, Act 493, previously House Bill 143 was signed into law on Friday, March 15, 2019. It is most notably referred to as Arkansas’ 18-week abortion ban.

  • Abortion procedures are banned after 18 weeks gestation.
  • Exceptions are as follows:
    • To prevent the death of the pregnant woman.
    • To prevent serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the woman.
    • The pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.
  • If an abortion is performed after 18 weeks the physician must file a report with the Department of Health within 15 days. The report shall contain:
    • The date of the abortion.
    • The specific method used.
    • The probable gestational age of the unborn baby and method used to calculate the gestational age.
    • A statement declaring that the abortion was necessitated by a medical emergency.
    • The specific medical indications supporting the abortion and medical emergency.
    • The probable health consequences of the abortion and the method used.
    • The physicians signature attesting that all of the information is true to their best knowledge.
  • Violators are guilty of a Class D felony.
  • Physicians in violation are subject to the Arkansas State Medical Board suspending or revoking their license.
  • The woman whom the abortion was performed or attempted on will not be prosecuted.
  • A physician who submits false reporting is subject to a civil penalty and up to a $2,000 fine.

Act 700, previous Senate Bill 448 was passed on Friday, April 5, 2019. The act adds to the qualifications needed for abortion providers to perform abortions, and repeals the presumption of viability at 25 weeks. 

  • No person shall perform or induce an abortion unless they are a physician licensed to practice medicine in Arkansas and are board-certified or board-eligible in obstetrics and gynecology.
  • Violations are considered a Class D felony.
  • Physicians and abortion facilities found in violation may be subject to revocations, suspension or nonrenewal of their professional licenses.
  • Viability is up to the judgement of the physician based on the particular facts of the case before them and in light of the advanced medical technology and information available, there is a reasonable likelihood of sustained survival of the unborn child outside the body of the mother, with or without artificial life support.

The Down Syndrome Discrimination by Abortion Prohibition Act, Act 619, previously Senate Bill 2 was signed into law on Monday, April 1, 2019.

  • No abortion shall intentionally be performed or attempted to be performed with the knowledge that the pregnant woman is seeking an abortion solely on the basis of:
    • A test result indication Down Syndrome in the unborn child.
    • A prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome in an unborn child.
    • Any other reasons to believe that the unborn child may have Down Syndrome.
  • Prior to an abortion, a physician must ask the pregnant woman if she is aware of any test results, prenatal diagnosis or other evidence that her unborn child has Down Syndrome.
  • If the pregnant woman is aware, the physician performing the abortion shall:
    • Inform the pregnant woman of the prohibition of abortion solely for the reason of Down Syndrome.
    • Request the medical records of the pregnant woman relevant to determining whether she has previously aborted an unborn child or children after she became aware of any evidence of Down Syndrome.
  • The exception to the law is rape or incest.
  • Those in violation of this law are guilty of a Class D felony.
  • A physician found in violation is liable for damages and may have their license revoked.
  • A pregnant woman found in violation of this law will not be punished.

UTAH

Utah introduced an abortion amendment this year, House Bill 136. The bill would ban abortions after 18-weeks gestation and introduce new reporting laws for abortion providers. The bill was signed into law by Governor Gary Herbert on Monday, March 25, 2019.

Both Planned Parenthood of Utah and the ACLU of Utah filed lawsuits quickly after the bill was passed saying it violated longstanding U.S. Supreme Court precedents. In April, a federal judge placed an injunction on the law preventing the state from enforcing the restrictions and the Utah Attorney General filed a motion agreeing with the injunction. The law not be enforced.

  • An abortion cannot be performed or attempted to be performed once the unborn child reaches 18 weeks gestational age.
  • Exceptions are as follows:
    • The unborn child is not viable.
    • The abortion is necessary to:
      • Prevent the death of the pregnant woman.
      • Prevent serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the woman.
    • Two physicians in maternal fetal medicine concur, in writing, in the patient’s medical records that the unborn child:
      • Has a defect that is uniformly diagnosable and uniformly lethal.
      • Has a severe brain abnormality that is uniformly diagnosable.
    • The woman is pregnant due to rape or incest.
  • Abortions must only be performed by licensed physicians.
  • Abortions may only be performed in hospitals or abortion clinic, unless medically necessary.
  • Within 30 days after the abortion, physicians must provide the Department of Health with the following:
    • A report containing the following:
      • The age, marital status and county of residence of the woman whom the abortion was performed.
      • The number of previous abortions the woman has had performed.
      • The hospital or facility the abortion was performed.
      • The weight in grams of the unborn child, if possible to ascertain.
      • The pathological description of the unborn child.
      • The given (menstrual) gestational age of the unborn child.
      • The date the abortion was performed.
      • Measurements of the unborn child, if possible to ascertain.
      • Abortion procedure used.
    • Copy of the pathologist’s report.
    • An affidavit that required consent was obtained or an affidavit that states why the required information was not given/obtained.
    • A certificate indicating whether the unborn child was or was not viable and/or the unborn child was older than 18 weeks gestation.
  • A willful violation of the law is considered a felony of the third degree.
  • The Department of Health can report physician’s violations to the licensing board.

INDIANA

Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb signed two pro-life bills into law this past April. The first of the bills was House Bill 1211, otherwise known as the ban on dismemberment abortions. The bill as signed on April 24, 2019 and is currently being challenged in the courts.

  • Dismemberment abortion means an abortion with the purpose of killing a living fetus in which the living fetus is extracted one piece at a time from the uterus through clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or another similar instrument that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slices, crushes, or grasps a portion of the fetus’s body to cut or rip it off.
  • Dismemberment abortion does not include an abortion that uses suction to dismember a fetus by sucking fetal parts into a collection container.
  • Exceptions where dismemberment abortions are permitted:
    • To prevent any serious health risk to the mother.
    • To save the mother’s life.
  • A physician who performs a dismemberment abortion would be guilty of a Level 5 Felony.
  • Anyone who worked at the direction of the physician will not be held accountable.
  • A woman whom has received a dismemberment abortion will not be fined.
The other bill signed into law on April 24, 2019 was Senate Bill 201, now referred to as Senate Enrolled Act 201: Health Provider Ethical Exemption. The act went into law on July 1, 2019.
  • No physician, nurse, physician assistant, pharmacist, employee or member of the staff of a hospital or other facility in which an abortion may be performed shall be required to perform an abortion, to prescribe, administer, or dispense an abortion inducing drug, or to assist or participate in the medical procedures resulting in or intended to result in an abortion, if that individual objects to such procedures on ethical, moral, or religious grounds.

TEXAS

Texas introduced the Texas Heartbeat Bill or House Bill 1500, in February. The House Speaker referred the bill to the Public Health Committee where it failed to meet approval by the deadline. 

  • An abortion cannot be performed once a fetal heartbeat has been detected.
  • Exceptions that apply:
    • A medical emergency.
    • A medical condition of the pregnant woman that prevents compliance.
  • Violators of the bill are subject to jail.
  • Physicians are subject to disciplinary actions through the Texas Medical Board. 

One law that did pass in Texas this year was the Texas Born-Alive Infant Protection Act or House Bill 16. It was signed into law on Friday, June 14, 2019 and will go into effect on September 1, 2019. 

  • If a child is born alive after an abortion the physician must perform the same level of professional skill, care and diligence to preserve the life and health of the child, as they would for any other child born alive at the particular gestational age.
  • The child should also be immediately transferred to a hospital.
  • Physicians found in violation are subject to a penalty of a minimum $100,000 fine.
  • Physicians are also found guilty of a felony in the third degree. 

NORTH DAKOTA

North Dakota also passed multiple pro-life laws this year. Both bills were signed into law by Governor Doug Burgman, but are currently being challenged in the courts by the American Medical Association (AMA). 

The first of the bills is House Bill 1336. It was signed into law on March 22, 2019 and addresses informed consent and abortion pill reversal information.

  • The physician has to provide the woman who is receiving the abortion with the following information:
    • The name of the physician who will perform the abortion.
    • The abortion will terminate the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.
    • The particular medical risks associated with the particular abortion procedure to be employed including, when medically accurate, the risks of infection, hemorrhage, danger to subsequent pregnancies, and infertility.
    • The probable gestational age of the unborn child at the time the abortion is to be performed.
    • The medical risks associated with carrying her child to term.
  • The woman is informed, by the physician or the physician’s agent, at least 24 hours prior to the abortion:
    • That medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care and that more detailed information on the availability of that assistance is contained in the printed materials given to her.
    • That the printed materials given to her describe the unborn child and list agencies that offer alternatives to abortion.
    • That the father is liable to assist in the support of her child, even in instances in which the father has offered to pay for the abortion.
    • That 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.
    • That it may be possible to reverse the effects of an abortion-inducing drug if she changes her mind, but time is of the essence, and information and assistance with reversing the effects of an abortion – inducing drug are available in the printed materials given to her.
  • The woman certifies in writing, prior to the abortion, that the printed materials described above have been furnished to her.
  • Before the performance of the abortion, the physician who is to perform or induce the abortion or the physician’s agent receives a copy of the written certification.
  • The physician has not received or obtained payment for a service provided to a patient who has inquired about an abortion or has scheduled an abortion before the 24 hour period required.
  • Materials including information it may be possible to reverse the effects of an abortion inducing drug but time is of the essence.
  • The materials must include information directing the patient where to obtain further information and assistance in locating a medical professional who can aid in the reversal of abortion – inducing drugs, such as mifepristone and misoprostol.

The second of these bills, House Bill 1546, was signed into law on April 10, 2019. The bill prohibits “human dismemberment abortions” and amends a 2007 law that triggers a statewide ban on abortion if Roe v. Wade is overturned.

  • “Human Dismemberment Abortion” means intentionally dismembering a living unborn child and extracting the unborn child one piece at a time from a uterus, with the purpose of causing the death of an unborn child, through use of clamps, grasping forceps, tongs, scissors, or similar instruments that, through the convergence of two rigid levers, slice, crush, or grasp the head, arm, leg, spinal cord, internal organ, or other portion of the unborn child’s body to cut or rip it off, regardless if the fetal body parts are removed by the same instrument, suction, or other means.
  • Except in the case of a medical emergency, it is a class C felony for an individual to intentionally perform a human dismemberment abortion.
  • A woman who a dismemberment abortion has been performed or attempted to be performed on cannot be prosecuted.
  • This Act becomes effective on the thirtieth day after:
    • The adoption of an amendment to the United States Constitution which, in whole or in part, restores to the states the authority to prohibit abortion.
    • The attorney general certifies to the legislative council the issuance of the judgment in any decision of the United States Supreme Court which, in whole or in part, restores to the states authority to prohibit abortion.

TENNESSEE

Tennessee introduced two pro-life bills this past session. The first of the bills, House Bill 77, failed to pass the Senate even after being amended. It was referred to as the “Tennessee Fetal Heartbeat Bill”.
  • It is illegal to perform an abortion after a fetal heartbeat has been detected.
  • The only exception is in the case of a medical emergency.
  • The physician must record in the woman’s medical record the estimated gestational age, ultrasound method, date and time, presence or absence of the heartbeat.
  • The woman must be provided the results of her ultrasound.
  • A woman must be given the option to view her ultrasound if she chooses to.

The second bill introduced, The Human Life Protection Act, or Senate Bill 1257, was signed into law on Friday, May 10, 2019 by Governor Bill Lee. The Act is considered a “Trigger” law that will only go into effect if the Supreme Court overturns Roe v. Wade.

  • Statewide ban on abortion 30 days after Roe v. Wade is overturned.
  • Anyone who performs or attempts to perform an abortion is guilty of a Class C felony.
  • It is an affirmative defense to prosecution for any licensed physician who performs an abortion that was necessary:
    • To prevent the death of the pregnant woman.
    • To prevent serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman.
    • Medical treatment was provided to the pregnant woman by a licensed physician that caused accidental death of or unintentional injury to or death of the unborn child.
    • The pregnant woman who an abortion is performed or attempted to be performed on cannot be convicted of any crime.

SOUTH CAROLINA

The South Carolina Fetal Heartbeat Protection from Abortion Act or House Bill 3020 was introduced in the beginning of the year. The bill passed the house and was sent to the senate mid April late in the first year of the legislation session, but due to a two year session, the senate could consider it next year. 

  • No abortion should be performed after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
  • Prior to an abortion an ultrasound must be performed.
  • Exceptions that apply are as follows:
    • Rape or Incest.
    • The physician believes a medical emergency existed.
    • To prevent the death of the pregnant woman.
    • To prevent serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the woman.
  • The ultrasound images must be displayed so the pregnant woman can view them if she chooses to.
  • The cardiac activity of the unborn child must be documented in writing.
  • If the pregnancy is at least eight weeks after fertilization, the provider must tell the woman that it may be possible to make the embryonic or fetal heartbeat of the unborn child audible for the woman to hear if she chooses to.
  • Physicians must keep all records for 7 years after the date of the notations.
  • Violators of the act will be guilty of a felony and upon conviction, must be fined $10,000 or imprisoned for no more than two years, or both. 

WEST VIRGINIA

The Fetal Heartbeat Act or House Bill 2903 was introduced in February and is currently stalled in House Health and Human Resources. 

  • No abortion should be performed after a fetal heartbeat is detected.
  • Exceptions that apply:
    • The physician believes a medical emergency existed.
    • To prevent the death of the pregnant woman.
    • To prevent serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the woman.
  • Physicians or licensed medical practitioners found in violation are subject to discipline from the applicable licensure board for that conduct, including, but not limited to, loss of professional license to practice.
  • A woman who an abortion has been performed on in violation of the act is not subject to any penalties.

FLORIDA

Florida introduced a Fetal Heartbeat bill in January,House Bill 0235. The bill has since died in the Health Quality Subcommittee, but there is hopes it will be reintroduced next year. 

  • An abortion cannot be performed once a fetal heartbeat has been detected.
  • Exceptions include:
    • Two physicians certify in writing that:
    • To preserve the life of the pregnant woman.
    • To avert a serious risk of substantial irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant woman other than a psychological condition.
  • No abortion can be performed without voluntary and written consent of the pregnant woman; or if mentally incompetent, her court-appointed legal guardian.
    • In medical emergencies, voluntary and informed consent is acceptable.
  • Ultrasounds must be performed by the physician providing the abortion or by a trained technician working in conjunction with the physician.
  • The pregnant woman must be presented the option to view the live ultrasound images and explanations of what she is viewing.
  • The pregnant woman must be presented the option to hear and see the heartbeat.
  • If an abortion is performed in the third trimester, the physician must provide the same degree of professional skill and diligence to preserve the life and health of the unborn child as they would if the child was intended to be born and not aborted.
  • If this action conflicts with preserving the health and life of the pregnant woman the physician must consider preserving the woman’s life.
  • No one will use a live unborn human or live, premature infant for any kind of scientific, research, laboratory or other kid of experimentation either prior to or subsequent to any termination of pregnancy, unless it is to preserve the health and life of the unborn child.
  • Performing an abortion in violation of this bill will result in a felony to the third degree.
  • Additional rules and policies for abortion providers and facilities to provide safer practices. 

VIRGINIA

The Commonwealth of Virginia and Governor Ralph Northam tried to push through multiple pro-choice bills this year.

Most notably was the failed late term abortion bill that sparked a lot of conversation, not only in Virginia but all over the country and even outside of the United States. The Repeal Act or House Bill 2491 was introduced on January 9, 2019.

  • Eliminates the requirement that an abortion in the second trimester of pregnancy and prior to the third trimester be performed in a hospital.
  • The bill eliminates all the procedures and processes, including the performance of an ultrasound, required to effect a woman’s informed written consent to the performance of an abortion; however, the bill does not change the requirement that a woman’s informed written consent be first obtained.
  • The bill eliminates the requirement that two other physicians certify that a third-trimester abortion is necessary to prevent the woman’s death or impairment of her mental or physical health, as well as the need to find that any such impairment to the woman’s health would be substantial and irremediable.
  • The bill also removes language classifying facilities that perform five or more first-trimester abortions per month as hospitals for the purpose of complying with regulations establishing minimum standards for hospitals.
Currently the Center for Reproductive Rights, Planned Parenthood Federation of America and the ACLU of Virginia are challenging four abortion restrictions in the court systems. The trial began Monday, May 24, 2019 and closing arguments were presented on Thursday, June 6, 2019. According to the Richmond Times Dispatch, at the conclusion of several hours of argument on Hudson said each side has two weeks to file briefs on what they believe the findings of fact and conclusions of law should be in the case. It is unknown when Hudson will rule on the case.
  • A physician-only requirement barring nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants from performing abortions during the first trimester.
  • A requirement that second-trimester abortions be performed in a hospital or licensed outpatient surgical hospital.
  • A requirement that women undergo an ultrasound and hear state-mandated information at least 24 hours before an abortion — requiring at least two trips to the provider.
  • A requirement that abortion providers who provide five or more first-trimester abortions per month must undergo licensing requirements.

VERMONT

On Thursday, June 6, 2019, Vermont Governor Phil Scott signed a bill “An Act Relating to Preserving the Right to Abortion” into law that took immediate effect. 

  • The State of Vermont recognizes the fundamental right of every person to choose or refuse contraception or sterilization.
  • The State of Vermont recognizes the fundamental right of every pregnant woman to choose to carry a pregnancy to term, to give birth to a child, or have an abortion.
  • No government branch, agency, department, elective officer or employee shall:
    • Deprive a consenting woman of her choice to terminate her pregnancy.
    • Interfere with or restrict, in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information, the choice of a consenting woman to terminate her pregnancy.
    • Prohibit a health care provider, acting within the scope of the health care provider’s license, from terminating or assisting in the termination of a patient’s pregnancy.
    • Interfere with or restrict, in the regulation or provision of benefits, facilities, services, or information, the choice of a health care provider acting within the scope of the health care provider’s license to terminate or assist in the termination of a patient’s pregnancy.

NEW YORK

On the 46th Anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the state of New York passed the Reproductive Health Act (RHA). It opens up a wider range for abortions and removes abortion from the state’s criminal code.  It is referred to as one of the most agressive abortion laws in the counry.

  • The legislature finds that comprehensive reproductive health care is a fundamental component of every individual’s health, privacy and equality.
  • Individuals have the right to choose or refuse contraception or sterilization.
  • Individuals who become pregnant have the right to choose to carry to term, give birth to a child or have an abortion.
  • Abortions can be performed up to 24 weeks gestation.
  • A health care practitioner licensed, certified or authorized under title eight of the education law acting within their scope of practice, may perform an abortion.
  • Unborn children were removed from the definition of homicide.
  • Abortion was removed from the penal law. 

MAINE

On June 10, 2019, Maine passed the bill “An Act To Authorize Certain Health Care Professionals To Perform Abortions” that would expand the number of health care professionals who can perform abortions in the state. 

  • It is the public policy of the State not to restrict a woman’s exercise of her private decision to terminate a pregnancy before viability.
  • After viability an abortion may be performed only when it is necessary to preserve the life or health of the mother.
  • It is also the public policy of the State that all abortions are performed only by a health care professional, defined as:
    • A physician or physician assistant licensed under Title 32, chapter 36 or 48 or a person licensed under Title 32, chapter 31 to practice as an advanced practice registered nurse.

Currently updating to ensure you are receiving the most up-to-date and most accurate information.

All summaries provided are pulled directly from the bills/acts linked below each state.

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