Washington ‘Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act’ (HB 1526)
This law was last updated on Jan 24, 2019
HB 1526 would prohibit a physician from performing or inducing an abortion on a fetus which has been determined to have a probable post-fertilization age at the point of viability, unless an abortion is necessary due to a fetal anomaly or medical emergency.
The ban would not apply if the pregnancy results from rape or incest.
The bill includes legislative findings based on junk science that a fetus can feel pain at 20 weeks, although this bill is not an explicit twenty-week ban.
The bill defines viability to mean:
“the point in the pregnancy when, in the judgment of the physician on the particular facts of the case before such physician, there is a reasonable likelihood of the fetus’s sustained survival outside the uterus without the application of extraordinary medical measures.”
Except in the case of a medical emergency, the bill would prohibit an abortion from being performed or induced, or be attempted to be performed or induced, unless the physician performing or inducing, or attempting to perform or induce, the abortion has first made a determination of the probable post-fertilization age of the fetus or relied upon such a determination made by another physician.
If an abortion of a fetus determined to be viable is necessary to prevent a serious health risk to the pregnant patient, the physician would be required to terminate the pregnancy through or by the method which, provides the best opportunity for the fetus to survive, unless such a manner would pose a more serious health risk to the pregnant patient.
A physician who intentionally or knowingly performs or induces or attempts to perform or induce an abortion in violation of this provision would be committing a class C felony, punishable by imprisonment for up to five years and/or a fine of anywhere between $2,000 and $10,000.
Any hospital or health-care facility in which an abortion is performed would need to report all of the following:
- The probable post-fertilization age of the fetus and whether an ultrasound was employed in making the determination, and, if a determination of probable post-fertilization age was not made, the medical emergency that existed;
- The method of abortion;
- Whether an intra-fetal injection was used;
- The age of the pregnant patient;
- The basis of determination that the pregnancy was a serious health risk to the pregnant patient if the post-fertilization age of the fetus was 20 weeks or more;
- If an abortion is necessary to prevent a serious health risk, whether the method used was the method that provided the best opportunity for the fetus to survive; and
- Other demographic information that the department of health determines is necessary.
The reports would need to be maintained in strict confidence by the department, may not be available for public inspection, and may not be made available except:
- To the attorney general or solicitor with appropriate jurisdiction pursuant to a criminal investigation;
- To the attorney general or solicitor pursuant to a civil investigation; or
- Pursuant to court order.
The Health Department would then be required to publish an annual statistical summary of all the reports for that year.
The department would be authorized to assess a late fee of $1,000 for each 30-day period that a report is overdue.
Nearly identical to HB 1775, which failed to pass in 2017.
1/23/19 – Introduced; referred to Health Care and Wellness Committee.