Mississippi Bill Amending Forced Ultrasound Law (HB 1292)
This law was last updated on Oct 8, 2014
HB 1292 would have amended Mississippi’s informed consent law, Miss. Code § 41-41-33, et seq. to include a requirement that a forced ultrasound be performed 24 hours before an abortion. (Current law (Miss. Code § 41-41-34) requires an ultrasound before an abortion but not 24 hours before an abortion. In addition, HB 1292 would have expanded upon the forced ultrasound requirements.)
The law would have required that a physician perform a sonogram on the pregnant woman before any sedative or anesthesia is administered to the woman and at least 24 hours before the abortion, or at least two hours before the abortion if the woman certifies that she lives 100 miles or more from the nearest abortion facility or a facility that performs more than 50 abortions in a twelve-month period.
The bill states that the sonogram must be of a quality consistent with standard medical practice in the community, shall contain the dimensions of the unborn child and shall accurately portray the presence of external members and internal organs, if present or viewable, of the unborn child.
The bill also states that physician who is to perform the abortion must display the sonogram images in a manner that the woman may view them and must provide a verbal explanation in a manner understandable to a layperson, including a medical description of the dimensions of the unborn child, the presence of cardiac activity, and the presence of external members and internal organs.
The bill further states that physician or an agent of the physician who is a certified sonographer must make audible the fetal heartbeat for the woman to hear, if present and provide, in a manner understandable to a layperson, a simultaneous verbal explanation of the heart auscultation.
Before receiving a sonogram, the woman would have been required to complete and certify an “Abortion and Sonogram Election Form.”
The law states that the certification form must be kept in the woman’s medical records for seven years, or if the woman is a minor, the later of seven years or the woman’s 21st birthday.
The law states that the woman is not required to view the sonogram images or listen to the fetal heartbeat.
The law further states that a woman can refuse to hear the verbal explanation of the sonogram image or the fetal heartbeat if (1) she is pregnant as a result of rape or incest or any other violation of Mississippi law that has been reported to law enforcement; (2) she is a minor obtaining an abortion pursuant to judicial bypass procedures; or (3) the fetus has an irreversible medical condition or abnormality.