Maryland ‘Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act’ (HB 1424)
This law was last updated on Sep 6, 2018
HB 1424 would prohibit performing or inducing an abortion unless the physician first makes a determination of the probable gestational age of the fetus, except in cases of a medical emergency.
The bill would ban abortions at 20 weeks post-fertilization unless, in the physician’s reasonable medical judgment, an abortion is necessary due to a medical emergency.
The bill states that an abortion does not become necessary if the risk of death or a substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function arises from a claim or diagnosis that the patient will engage in conduct that may result in their death or in substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.
The bill also states that an abortion performed after 20 weeks must be performed in a manner that provides the best opportunity for the “unborn child” to survive, unless in the physician’s reasonable medical judgment, termination of the pregnancy in that manner would pose a greater risk of death or substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function than would another method. No such greater risk would exist if it is based on a claim or diagnosis that the patient will engage in conduct which will result in her death or in substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a bodily function.
A violation of the provisions in this bill would be considered “unprofessional conduct.”
The bill includes legislative findings based on junk science that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks.
Physician Reporting Requirements
Abortion providers would be required to report certain information to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, including:
- the post-fertilization age of the fetus;
- if the determination of probable post-fertilization age was made, whether an ultrasound was used, and the week of probable post-fertilization age determined;
- if a determination of probable post-fertilization age was not made, why not—what was the basis for a determination that a medical emergency existed;
- the method used for the abortion;
- whether an intrafetal injection was used to induce fetal demise;
- the age and race of the patient;
- if the probable post-fertilization age was 20 weeks or more, the basis for a determination that a medical condition necessitated an immediate abortion to avert the woman’s death or serious injury;
- if the probable post-fertilization age was 20 weeks or more and an abortion was performed, whether the method performed provided the best opportunity for the “unborn child” to survive, and if not, why not.
The bill would prohibit the department from making such reports available for public inspection, and would require the department to maintain the confidentiality of such reports.
Abortion physician reports would only be made available to the following parties in the following circumstances:
- to the Attorney General or state attorney with appropriate jurisdiction pursuant to a criminal investigation; or
- pursuant to a court order.
The bill would require the Department of Mental Health and Hygiene to issue a public report providing statistics compiled from all the reports provided by physicians by June 30 of each year.
Based on model legislation drafted by the National Right to Life Committee.
Identical to HB 547, which failed to pass in 2017.