Maryland ‘Woman’s Right to Know Act’ (HB 1075)
This law was last updated on Apr 15, 2019
HB 1075 would prohibit a physician from performing an abortion unless the pregnant person on whom the abortion will be performed voluntarily provides their informed consent, except in cases of medical emergency.
At least 24 hours prior to the performance of an abortion, the physician would be required to inform the pregnant person—via telephone or in person—of the following:
- The name of the physician performing the abortion;
- The medical risks associated with the procedure, including the risks of infection, hemorrhage, breast cancer, danger to future pregnancies, and infertility;
- The probable gestational age of the fetus; and
- The medical risks of carrying the fetus to term.
Additionally, at least 24 hours prior to the performance of an abortion, the pregnant person should be informed of the following:
- That medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care;
- That the father is liable to assist in support of the child;
- That the pregnant person has a right to review the informed consent materials;
- That the materials are available on a state-sponsored website; and
- The address for the state-sponsored website.
The physician would be required to orally inform the pregnant person that the materials describe the “unborn child” and list agencies that offer alternatives to abortion.
If the pregnant person doesn’t want to use the website, the physician would need to provide the materials by mail or tape recording.
The pregnant person would need to certify in writing that they received the materials and that they were informed of the opportunity to review the materials.
Prior to patient providing informed consent, the bill would require the physician to perform an obstetric ultrasound on the pregnant person. During the ultrasound, the physician would need to:
- Provide a verbal explanation of the image;
- Inform the pregnant person if the fetus is not alive;
- Display the images to that the pregnant person may view them; and
- Provide a medical description of the images.
The pregnant person would need to certify in writing that the ultrasound requirements were met. The physician would need to retain the written certification for at least seven years.
The bill clarifies that a physician would not be in violation of the ultrasound requirement if they use a hand-held doppler fetal monitor and the heartbeat isn’t audible and they offer to make it available again in the future.
The pregnant person would not be required to view the images or listen to any audible heartbeat.
A physician would be able to perform an abortion without meeting the informed consent and ultrasound requirements if a medical emergency exists. The physician would need to inform the patient, before performing the abortion, if possible, of:
- The medical indications supporting the physician’s judgement that an abortion is necessary to prevent their death; or
- That a 24-hour delay could cause serious risk of substantial and irreversible physical impairment of a major bodily function.
The bill describes what type of information should be made available on the state-sponsored website, including:
- A comprehensive list of adoption agencies; and
- Materials designed to inform the pregnant person of the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the embryo or fetus at 2-week gestational increments.
Physicians who perform abortions would be required to report the following information:
- The number of pregnant people to whom the physician provided informed consent materials;
- Of that number, the number of pregnant people to whom the physician provided the information by telephone, in person, as a referring physician, and as a physician performing the abortion;
- The number of pregnant people who requested a copy of the printed information;
- The number of pregnant people who didn’t request a copy of the printed information;
- The number of pregnant people who had an abortion after receiving the printed information;
- The number of abortions performed by the physician without meeting the informed consent requirements due to a medical emergency.
The department would be required to produce a yearly statistical report compiled from all the submitted reports.
A person who knowingly or recklessly performs or attempts to perform an abortion in violation of this act would be guilty of a felony.
A physician who falsifies a report would be guilty of a misdemeanor.
2/8/19 – Introduced; referred to House Health and Government Operations Committee.