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Maryland Fetal Heartbeat Protection Act (HB 1195)

This law was last updated on Apr 15, 2019


This law is Anti–Choice

State

Maryland

Number

HB 1195

Status

Failed to Pass

Proposed

Feb 8, 2019

Topics

Forced Ultrasound, Heartbeat Bans, Informed Consent, Physicians Reporting Requirements

Full Bill Text

mgaleg.maryland.gov

HB 1195 would prohibit a physician from performing or inducing an abortion on a pregnant person if it has been determined that the fetus has a detectable heartbeat.


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 even realize that they are pregnant.


Detection

The bill would require a physician to first determine whether the fetus the pregnant person is carrying has a detectable heartbeat. An ultrasound would be required to determine the presence of a fetal heartbeat. The bill does not specify what type of ultrasound.

The physician who determines the presence or absence of a fetal heartbeat would be required to:

  • Display the ultrasound images so that the pregnant person may view them; and
  • Record in the pregnant person’s medical record a written description of the ultrasound images of the fetal cardiac activity, if present and viewable.

If at least eight weeks have occurred after fertilization, the physician would need to inform the pregnant person that it’s possible to make the fetal heartbeat audible to hear. The pregnant person would not be required to listen.

A physician would be able to perform an abortion only in cases of medical emergency or if it has been determined that there is no detectable heartbeat.

A person who violates this provision would be guilty of a felony and subject to up to two years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000.

Heartbeat Ban

The bill would prohibit a physician from performing or inducing an abortion on a pregnant person when a fetal heartbeat has been detected. This would not apply when an abortion is necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant person or to prevent a serious risk of the substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function of the pregnant person.

The physician would need to document in the patient’s medical record the reason for going ahead with an abortion.

A person who violates this provision would be guilty of a felony and subject to up to two years in prison and/or a fine of $10,000.

Ultrasound/Informed Consent Requirements

The bill would require a physician performing an abortion to inform the pregnant person of the probable gestational age of the embryo or fetus.

If an ultrasound is performed, the physician would have to wait an hour before performing the abortion. The physician would need to inform the patient of their right to view the image during or after the procedure.

If a fetal heartbeat has been detected, the physician would need to inform the pregnant person:

  • In writing that the fetus has a detectable heartbeat; and
  • The statistical probability, absent an induced abortion, of bringing the fetus to term based on the gestational age of the fetus.

Repeal

The bill would repeal certain provisions of law which prohibit the state from interfering with the decision of an individual to terminate a pregnancy before the fetus is viable; or any time during a pregnancy if it’s necessary to protect the pregnant person’s life or the fetus has a serious abnormality.


Related Legislation

Similar to HB 933 and HB 978.


Latest Action

2/8/19 – Introduced; referred to the House Health and Government Operations Committee.


People