Massachusetts Woman’s Right to Know Act (H 1565)
This law was last updated on Oct 28, 2015
H 1565 would require a physician to provide a pregnant woman seeking an abortion informed consent material at least 24 hours before a procedure.
Under H 1565, physicians would be required provide a pregnant woman with informed consent material via printed pamphlet, an internet address to a state-sponsered website, or a toll-free number of an audio recording at least 24 hours before the procedure is to take place.
The materials would need to contain the following information:
- Written notice of the patient’s rights;
- Comprehensive list of contact information of public and private agencies that may provide medical, financial and other assistance to women through pregnancy and after as needed, and adoption services;
- Description of the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the unborn child at two week gestational increments from fertilization to full term, including color or representative photographs, realistic drawings at two week increments, and written information about brain and heart function and the pretense of external members and internal organs at each stage of development;
- A description of the various methods of abortion and the associated physical, psychological, emotional or medical risks;
- A description of the associated physical, psychological, emotional or medical risks of pregnancy and delivery;
- A description of the support obligations of the father of a child born alive; and
- Statements surrounding the women’s right to view an ultrasound and hear the heartbeat; that a person’s refusal to undergo an abortion does not constitute grounds for the denial of public assistance; that the law permits adoptive parents to pay the cost of prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care; that the father of the child is liable to assist in support of the child; that it is unlawful to coerce a woman to undergo an abortion; and that a physician who performs an abortion without obtaining informed consent may be liable to her for damages in a civil action at law.
The informed consent materials should be identical and include definitions of abortion, pregnancy and unborn child. The material should be objective, nonjudgmental, and convey only accurate scientific information. They should also be published in English, Spanish, and Portuguese, and in each other language which is the primary language of two percent or more of the state’s population.
Prior to the abortion, the physician would also be required to orally inform the woman of the following information:
- The proposed abortion method and associated risks and alternatives;
- The probable gestational age of the unborn child;
- The probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the unborn child; and
- Her right to see an ultrasound and hear the heartbeat, if audible.
Also prior to the abortion, the physician would be required to inform the woman of abortion alternatives and make sure she has received all available information regarding alternatives to abortion. Once the woman receives all required information, she would be required to sign a consent form.
Massachusetts already requires “informed consent” for all medical procedures. Including one informed consent law specific to abortion, which requires that a woman be informed about the type of procedure to be used, possible complications, and abortion alternatives.
- Matthew Beaton
- Michael Knapik
- Richard Ross
- Richard Moore
- Colleen Garry
- Walter Timilty
- John H. Rogers
- Paul Donato
- F. Jay Barrows
- James Lyons
- Marc Lombardo
- Donald Humason
- Randy Hunt
- Kevin Kuros
- Geoff Diehl
- Peter Durant
- Keiko Orrall
- James Miceli
- Stephen DiNatale
- Angelo Scaccia
- James Dwyer
- Dennis Rosa
- Angelo Puppolo
- Kimberly Ferguson