Iowa Woman’s Right to Know Act (SF 12)
This law was last updated on Jan 8, 2015
SF 12 would have enacted the Woman’s Right to Know Act.
The bill would have prohibited an abortion from being performed or induced without the woman’s voluntary and informed consent given freely and without coercion.
Except in cases of medical emergency, consent would been voluntary and informed if at least 72 hours prior to the abortion, the physician informed the woman orally and in writing of specific information, including the following (1) the name of the doctor who will perform the abortion; (2) the probable gestational age of the fetus; (3) the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the fetus at the time the abortion is to be performed; (4) the medical risks associated with carrying her child to term; and (5) medically accurate information that a reasonable patient would consider material to the decision of whether or not to undergo the abortion, including the risks of infection, hemorrhage, cervical or uterine perforation, danger to subsequent pregnancies, and possible adverse psychological effects associated with abortion.
The physician must also have provided the woman with information regarding alternatives to abortion, a statement that the physician is available for questions, the physician’s phone number in case the woman has questions, and printed materials provided by the Department of Public Health which describe, among other things, the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the fetus as well as long-term medical risks.
Informed Consent/Printed Materials
The bill stated that the printed materials must prominently display the following statement: “The life of each human being begins at conception. Abortion will terminate the life of a separate, unique, living human being.” (This requirement is similar to that found in South Dakota’s informed consent law, HB 1166.)
The physician would have also been required to provide printed materials maintained by the Department of Public Health regarding adoption agencies, crisis pregnancy centers, and maternity homes as well as social/medical programs and services available to assist a woman in carrying a fetus to term. The information would also have included the legal duties and obligations of the father even if the father has offered to pay for an abortion. Such materials would not include information on organizations that provide abortions or referrals for abortions.
The bill provided that the Department of Public Health shall produce printed materials by November 1, 2015. The bill stated that the materials must be presented in an unbiased and objective manner and contain only scientifically accurate information (even though, for example, information about fetal pain and psychological disorders are not scientifically accurate and the presentation of this sort of information is inherently biased against a woman’s right to choose.) The bill required the Department to make all of this information available on the Internet and to maintain a toll-free hotline number for callers to obtain information about available agencies and social programs.
Admitting Privileges Requirement
The physician would have been required to inform the woman of the location of a hospital that offered OB/GYN services located within 30 miles of the location where the abortion was performed and at which the physician performing the abortion had clinical privileges.
Informed Consent/Ultrasound Requirement
At least 72 hours before the abortion, the physician who is to perform the abortion on the pregnant woman, the referring physician, or a qualified person assisting the physician would have been required to provide the woman the opportunity to: view an active ultrasound image of the fetus and hear the heartbeat of the fetus if the heartbeat is audible.
The woman must have been provided a geographically indexed list maintained by the Department of Public Health of facilities that provide ultrasounds free of charge in case she prefers to get an ultrasound at a facility other than the facility at which the abortion will be performed.
Prior to an abortion being performed on a fetus that is 22 weeks gestational age or older, the physician or qualified person would have been required to provide a woman junk science on fetal pain, including the medically unproven assertion that a 20-week-old fetus is capable of feeling pain.
The bill stated that the required information must be given to the woman in person at least 72 hours before the abortion.
The bill would have also required that the woman certify in writing that the requisite information has been provided and that she has been provided an opportunity to review the printed state materials. No abortion can be performed without signed certification.
The bill would have prohibited an abortion on a fetus that is 22 weeks gestational age or older unless and until the woman has been offered an opportunity to have an anesthetic or analgesic administered to alleviate fetal pain.
Medical Emergency Abortion
If a medical emergency exists, the physician must have certified the nature of the emergency and maintain the information in the woman’s medical record.