New Hampshire Protection from Coercive Abortion Act (HB 1721)
This law was last updated on Aug 14, 2019
HB 1721 would, except in the case of an emergency, prohibit an abortion from being performed or induced without prior screening of the patient for evidence of coercion of a vulnerable person.
The bill defines “vulnerable person” to mean “any person who is submitting to an unwanted abortion due to pressure from others.”
Except in the case of an emergency, consent to abortion is free from unnecessary exposure to risks and coercion only if the following are true:
- Prior to the abortion practitioner’s recommendation for an abortion, a qualified person has privately evaluated the pregnant person to determine if they are a vulnerable person, and in particular if they are seeking an abortion under pressure to do so from other persons; and
- Evaluation of the pregnant person to identify if they may be a vulnerable person must include investigation of their views on abortion and any possible emotional attachment which they may have developed with the fetus.
If the pregnant person describes any negative view toward abortion, or emotional attachment to the fetus, or any other indication that the abortion is unwanted, or their “only choice,” they would be considered a vulnerable person.
The evaluation would need to be done individually, in a private room in the absence of third parties.
If a pregnant person is identified as a vulnerable person, they must be informed of this evaluation and continue to receive non-directive counseling by a qualified person, or be referred to other sources of assistance or counseling until they are able to make a fully free decision.
The bill defines “qualified person” to mean “a licensed physician or an agent of the abortion practitioner who is a licensed psychologist, licensed social worker, licensed professional counselor, licensed APRN, licensed physician assistant, or licensed registered nurse.”
If the qualified person concludes the pregnant person is being coerced by a third party, the qualified person must assist them in finding resources to mitigate the pressure or protect them from the coercion.
If, after having received additional counseling and interventive assistance on their behalf, the patient identified as a vulnerable person persists in their request for an induced abortion, and the qualified person believes the patient is making a free and voluntary decision, the qualified person would need to certify that “the patient’s request for an abortion is freely and voluntarily made and is consistent with the patient’s own autonomous views, needs, and desires.”
No abortion may be performed on a vulnerable person without such written certification.
If the pregnant patient seeking an abortion is a minor, the qualified person would be required to interview the pregnant minor to determine if the pregnancy is the result of a criminal act, including acts of incest, rape, or statutory rape. If the qualified person determines that a criminal act was or is likely to have occurred, written notice must be given to the abortion practitioner, the proper law enforcement officials, and the child protection authorities.
Except in the case of a medical emergency, a physician would be guilty of a class B felony if they knowingly perform an abortion on a pregnant person who has not consented to the abortion, who has revoked their consent, or who has consented under the coercion or duress of another person.
A physician would also be subject to civil penalties.
Similar to language found in model legislation drafted by the Elliot Institute.
- Elliot Institute for Social Sciences Research — Drafted Model Law