Massachusetts 20-Week Abortion Ban (H 934)
This law was last updated on Oct 31, 2017
H 934 would prohibit physicians from performing abortions on a pregnant person if the probable gestational age of the fetus is 20 or more weeks, except in cases of medical emergency. The stated purpose of the law is to prevent fetal pain.
Any person who violates this requirement would be punished by imprisonment for one to five years.
If an abortion procedure needs to take place due to a medical emergency, no abortion procedure which is designed to destroy the life of the “unborn child” or injure the “unborn child” in its patient’s womb may be used unless, in the physician’s best medical judgment, all other available procedures would create a greater risk of death or serious bodily harm to the mother either at the time of the abortion, or subsequently as the result of a future pregnancy, than the one being used.
If an abortion procedure needs to take place due to a medical emergency, the physician would be required to take all reasonable steps to preserve the life and health of the aborted fetus. Such steps would also include the presence of life-supporting equipment in the room where the abortion is taking place.
Except in the case of an emergency requiring immediate action, no abortion may be performed without the proper written informed consent. If the abortion is during or after the thirteenth week, it would be required to be performed in a hospital authorized to provide facilities for general surgery.
Except in the case of an emergency, no abortion may be performed unless performed in a hospital duly authorized to provide facilities for obstetrical services.
Physician Reporting Requirements
Prior to the performance of an abortion the physician would be required to:
- make a positive determination of pregnancy,
- test for blood type and Rh type,
- test for Rho(D) sensitization on each patient found to be Rho(D) negative by use of an antiglobulin (Coombs) test performed by a blood bank operated by a licensed hospital, or by a laboratory, and
- offer Rho(D) immune globulin (Human) to each Rho(D) negative patient with a negative sensitization test at the time of any abortion.
Within 30 days of the performance of an abortion the physician would be required to report the following information to the Commissioner of Public Health:
- the date and place of the abortion;
- if he/she was the physician making the medical judgment,
- the exception that in his/her best medical judgment permitted the abortion and the specific reasons why the abortion qualified under that exception;
- if he/she was not the physician who made such medical judgment, the name and address of the physician from whom he/she received the written statement required and the exception that permitted the abortion and a verbatim recitation of the specific reasons why the abortion qualified under either exception;
- the age of the mother;
- the method used to perform the abortion;
- whether the mother survived the abortion;
- the details of any morbidity observed in the mother;
- the gestational age of the fetus;
- the weight and crown-rump length of fetus if determinable;
- whether the “unborn child” was alive when removed or expelled from the mother and if so, the steps taken to preserve its life; and
- the length of time “the child” lived after removal or expulsion from the mother.
Similar to H 1550 (2015), which failed to pass.