Michigan ‘Fetal Heartbeat Protection Act’ (SB 357)
This law was last updated on Aug 20, 2019
SB 357 would prohibit a person from performing an abortion on a pregnant person once a fetal heartbeat has been detected.
A fetal heartbeat can be detected as early as six weeks of pregnancy—two weeks after a person’s first missed period—and well before many people even realize that they are pregnant.
The bill prohibits a physician from performing an abortion without first determining whether the fetus has a detectable heartbeat.
A physician may perform an abortion only in cases of medical emergency or if it has been determined that there is no detectable heartbeat.
In the case of a medical emergency, the physician must make a note in the patient’s record of the following:
- The physician’s belief that a medical emergency necessitating the abortion existed;
- The medical condition of the pregnant patient that prevented compliance.
A person who knowingly performs an abortion without first determining if there is a fetal heartbeat—and absent any medical emergency—would be charged with a felony, punishable by two to four years in prison. If such a violation causes the death of the pregnant person, the person performing the abortion would be guilty of a felony, punishable by six to 15 years in prison.
Heartbeat Detection Informed Consent
Except in cases of medical emergency, a person who detects a fetal heartbeat may not perform an abortion without first informing the pregnant patient at least 24 hours prior to the procedure that a fetal heartbeat has been detected and the statistical probability of carrying the fetus to term.
The pregnant patient must sign a form acknowledging that they have received information from the person intending to perform or induce the abortion that a fetal heartbeat has been detected and that the pregnant patient is aware of the statistical probability of carrying the fetus to term.
A person who violates this provision would be guilty of a felony—punishable by up to two years in prison (six years if the violation causes the death of the pregnant person).
Heartbeat Abortion Ban
The bill prohibits a person from performing an abortion on a pregnant person when a fetal heartbeat has been detected.
This does not apply when an abortion is necessary in cases of life endangerment or serious risk of irreversible impairment of the pregnant person.
In the case that a medical procedure is necessary to prevent serious injury or death of the pregnant individual, the physician would need to make a note of such condition in the patient’s record. If the reason for the abortion is to preserve the health of the pregnant individual, the physician would need to specify in a written document the medical condition and rationale for the person’s conclusion that the abortion is necessary.
A person who violates this provision would be guilty of a felony and face two to four years in prison (six to 15 years if the violation causes the death of the pregnant person).
The bill provides that a pregnant person on whom an abortion is performed may not be found guilty for violating, attempting to violate, or conspiring to commit a violation of any of the above provisions.
Linked to SB 358, which provides sentencing guidelines.
Companion bill to HB 4664.
6/5/19 – Introduced.