Rhode Island Woman’s Right to Know Act (H 5488)
This law was last updated on Jan 4, 2016
H 5488 would establish informed consent procedures for women seeking abortions.
Under H 5488, no abortion can be performed without the voluntary and informed consent of the female upon whom the abortion is to be performed, except in the case of a medical emergency. At least 24 hours before the abortion is performed, the physician or referring physician must inform the woman in person or via telephone:
- The name of the physician performing the abortion;
- The particiular medical risks associated with the particular abortion procedure;
- The probable gestational age of the “unborn child” at time of the abortion is to be performed; and
- The medical risks associate with carrying the child to term.
The physician or referring physician may also inform the woman:
- That medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care;
- That the father is liable to assist in the support of her child, even in instances in which the father has offered to pay for the abortion; and
- That she has the right to review printed informed consent materials.
Prior to the abortion, the female must certify in writing that she has been informed of her opportunity to review the information. The physician must retain a copy.
The department of health must publish and make available online the following information:
- Geographically indexed materials designed to inform the female of publice and private agencies and services available to assist a femal through pregnancy, upon childbirth, and while the dependent, including adoption agencies; and
- Materials designed to inform the female of probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the “unborn child” at two week gestational increments from the time when a female can be known to be pregnant to full term, including any relevant information on the possibility of the “unborn child’s” survival and pictures or drawings representing its development. The material should also contain information on methods of abortions and associated risks.
Any person who knowingly or recklessly performs or attempts to perform an abortion in violation of this act would be guilty of a felony.
Physicians would be required to report the following:
- The number of females to whom the physician provided the informed consent materials, of that number, the number provided by telephone and in person; and of each of those numbers, how many were provided by the physician or the referring physician;
- The number of abortions performed by the physician in which information otherwise required to be provided at least 24 hours before the abortion was not so provided due to an immediate abortion being necessary to avert the female’s death, and the number of abortions in which such information was not so provided because a delay would create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.
Physicians would be required to submit a copy of the report to the department of health by February 28 of each year. Failure to do so would result in a late fee of $500 for each 30 day period they are overdue.
By June of each year, the department of health would be required to issue a public report providing statistics for the previous calendar year compiled from all the physician reports.