Alabama Bill Amending Informed Consent Requirements (HB 360)
This law was last updated on Jun 10, 2014
HB 360 would have amended the Woman’s Right to Know Act, which requires a physician to provide a woman seeking an abortion printed materials before consent to an abortion is considered voluntary and informed. It would have amended certain defined terms, including “abortion” and “medical emergency,” and would have required disclosure of additional information prior to the performance of an abortion.
The bill would have amended the term “abortion” so that it reads “ABORTION. The use or prescription of any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance or device with the intent to kill the unborn child of a woman known to be pregnant or with the intent to prematurely terminate the pregnancy of a woman known to be pregnant.” The italicized phrase is new language.
It would have also amended the term “medical emergency” to exclude risk of psychological or emotional conditions and to exclude any conditions based on the claim or diagnosis that a woman “will engage in conduct which she intends to result in her death or in substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.”
Existing law requires a physician to provide certain state-mandated printed materials to a woman seeking an abortion in person or by certified mail at least 24 hours before the abortion. The printed materials list agencies that offer assistance, adoption agencies, development of the “unborn child,” method and risks of abortion and childbirth, father’s obligation, and alternatives to abortion.
HB 360 would have amended existing law to require that a physician who provides that information by certified mail must do it at least 48 hours before the abortion, and that the physician must inform the woman that she has a right to review printed materials, that the materials are available on a state-sponsored website, and what that website address is. The physician would also have been required to orally inform the woman that the materials have been provided by the State of Alabama and that they describe the unborn child and list agencies which offer alternatives to abortion.
Existing law requires an abortion doctor to perform an ultrasound and to offer the woman an opportunity to view it. The woman is required to fill out a form stating that she either saw the ultrasound or was offered an opportunity and rejected it. This bill would have amended existing law to state that a woman seeking abortion has the right to request a list compiled by the Department of Public Health, of health care providers and facilities that offer ultrasounds, including those that offer them free of charge. The bill also would have amended the law so that a woman must fill out a form stating that she either saw the ultrasound image or “chose not to look at the displayed images.”
The bill would also have required an abortion provider, certified technician, or other agent to make the fetal heartbeat audible for the pregnant woman to hear.
Disclosure of Additional Information
The bill would have required that state-mandated printed materials include the following statement:
“The material shall include the following statements: “Your chances of getting breast cancer are affected by your pregnancy history. If you have carried a pregnancy to term as a young woman, you may be less likely to get breast cancer in the future. However, you do not get the same protective effect if your pregnancy is ended by an abortion. The risk may be higher if your first pregnancy is aborted.” and ” If you have a family history of breast cancer or clinical findings of breast disease, you should seek medical advice from your physician before deciding whether to remain pregnant or have an abortion. It is always important to tell your doctor about your complete pregnancy history.”
An increase in risk of breast cancer is not supported by medical research. In fact, a new study confirms that there is no causative link between abortion and breast cancer.
The bill also would have required the printed materials to include the following statement: “Abortion terminates the life of a whole, separate, unique, living human being.”