SECTION 1. This Act shall be know and cited as “Laura’s Law” or as “Woman’s Right to Know Act”.
SECTION 2. Section 12S of Chapter 112 of the General laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by striking the first paragraph, lines 1-20, and inserting in place thereof the following paragraphs:
Section 12S (a). No physician may perform an abortion upon a pregnant woman without first obtaining her written informed consent in compliance with the procedures listed in subsection (b), unless in case of a medical emergency, compliance would cause the pregnant woman’s death or the pregnant woman’s substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function.
(b) At least 24 hours before the time an abortion is scheduled to be performed, the referring physician, the physician performing the abortion, or either physician’s agent must provide to the pregnant woman a printed pamphlet, the internet address to a state-sponsored web site, or a toll-free number for an audio recording as provided by the commissioner of public health which communicates the following general information:
(1)written notice of patients’ rights guaranteed by section 70E of chapter 111 of
the General Laws;
(2) comprehensive list of the names, addresses and contact information of public and private agencies and services available in the commonwealth to provide medical, financial and other assistance to a woman through pregnancy, upon childbirth, and while her child is dependent, with prenatal, childbirth, neonatal, childrearing and adoption services;
(3) description of the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the unborn child at two-week gestational intervals from fertilization to full term, including color photographs, or if a representative photograph is not available, realistic drawings of the unborn child at two-week gestational intervals from fertilization to full term and including written information about brain and heart function and the presence of external members and internal organs at each stage of development;
(4) description of the various methods of abortion and the physical, psychological and emotional risks or medical complications commonly associated with each method;
(5) description of the physical, psychological and emotional risks or medical complications of pregnancy and delivery;
(6) description of the support obligations of the father of a child born alive; and
(7) the following statements of patient rights:
(i) under the law of the commonwealth, a pregnant woman has the right, upon her request, to view a live ultrasound and hear the heartbeat of her unborn child before an abortion;
(ii) the law permits adoptive parents to pay the cost of prenatal care, childbirth and neonatal care;
(iii) the father of the unborn child is liable to assist in the support of the child, even in instances in which he has offered to pay for the abortion;
(iv) it is unlawful for any individual to coerce a woman to undergo an abortion,
(v) a physician who performs an abortion upon a pregnant woman without obtaining her informed consent may be liable to her for damages in a civil action at law.
(b) The texts of the pamphlet, web site and audio recording required in subsection (b) shall:
(1) be identical in content, incorporate the definitions of “abortion,” “pregnancy,” and “unborn child” as set out in section 12K of this chapter;
(2) be objective, non-judgmental and designed to convey only accurate scientific information when discussing fetal development and medical risks; and
(3) be written in a manner designed to permit a person unfamiliar with medical terminology to understand its purpose and content, and be published in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and in each other language which is the primary language of 2% or more of the state’s population.
(c) Prior to the scheduled abortion and before the pregnant woman provides her written consent to the abortion, the referring physician or the physician performing the abortion must orally inform the pregnant woman of:
(1) the nature of the proposed abortion method and associated risks and alternatives that a reasonable patient in the pregnant woman’s position would consider material to the decision to undergo the abortion;
(2) the probable gestational age of the unborn child at the time the abortion is to be performed;
(3) the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the unborn child at the time the abortion is to be performed; and
(4) her right to see the ultrasound image and hear the heartbeat, if audible through auscultation, of her unborn child before the abortion is to be performed.
(d) Prior to the scheduled abortion and before the pregnant woman provides her written consent to the abortion, the referring physician, the physician performing the abortion, or either physician’s agent shall:
(1) orally inform the pregnant woman that alternatives to abortion are available;
(2) ask the pregnant woman if she has seen the information, including the list of abortion alternative agencies provided in the pamphlet, web site, or telephonic audio recordings described in subsection (b);
(3) give the pregnant woman a copy of the pamphlet if she requests one at this time;
(4) provide the pregnant woman with an opportunity to contact abortion alternative agencies at this time should she desire to do so; and
(5) advise the pregnant woman that she has the right to see an ultrasound image and hear the heartbeat of her unborn child before an abortion is performed.
(e) If requested by the pregnant woman before the abortion is performed, the referring physician or the physician performing the abortion shall arrange to provide a real-time ultrasound image of the unborn child for the pregnant woman to view and auscultation of fetal heart tone for the pregnant woman to hear the heartbeat of her unborn child. The ultrasound image and the auscultation of fetal heart tone must be of a quality consistent with standard medical practice in the community.
(f) Before the scheduled abortion but after the pregnant woman is provided with an opportunity to receive the information described in subsections (b) and (d), if she decides to obtain the abortion, the pregnant woman shall sign a consent form. The form shall indicate that she has been offered and, if applicable, has upon her request received the information and services described in subsections (b) and (d) and does provide her consent to the abortion. The physician performing the abortion shall maintain the signed consent form in the physician’s files and destroy it 7 years after the date upon which the abortion is performed.
(g) The commissioner of public health shall create and publish within 90 days after the effective date of this Act and shall review on an annual basis and update if necessary, the pamphlet, web site, telephonic recordings required in subsection (b) and the consent form required in subsection (f).
(h) The commissioner shall make the printed materials required in subsection (b) available at no cost and in appropriate number to any institution, clinic or physician’s office providing abortions.
SECTION 3. Section 12S of Chapter 112 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting “(i)” at the beginning of the second paragraph, before the words “The said consent form….”
SECTION 4. Section 12S of Chapter 112 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, is hereby amended by inserting “(j)” at the beginning of the third paragraph, before the words “Nothing in this section….”
The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The General Court provides this information as a public service and while we endeavor to keep the data accurate and current to the best of our ability, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.