N.H. House Approves Waiting Period, Counseling Requirements Before Abortion Care

March 15, 2012 — The New Hampshire House on Wednesday approved a bill (HB 1659) that would require a woman seeking abortion care to first wait 24 hours, during which time she would have to meet with a doctor to review information and materials about the procedure, the Huffington Post reports (Celock, Huffington Post, 3/14).

House lawmakers also approved a bill (HB 1679) that would ban the procedure abortion-rights opponents call "partial-birth" abortion, which already is prohibited under federal law. In addition, they passed a bill (HB 1723) that would specify that a judge has two court business days to decide whether a minor can receive a bypass to the state's parental notification law. Currently, judges must decide within 48 hours (Love, AP/Boston Globe, 3/15).

The waiting period and counseling bill states that a doctor must tell the woman "that there is a direct link between abortion and breast cancer." The Huffington Post notes that the World Health Organization and the American Cancer Society have affirmed there is no such link.

The woman would be required to fill out and sign a checklist affirming that she has received information about the supposed breast cancer link and other possible medical side effects, paternal support obligations, a series of images on fetal development, agencies that assist pregnant women, and a state website and 24-hour hotline (Huffington Post, 3/14). Violating the law would be considered a felony, punishable by up to 15 years in prison (AP/Boston Globe, 3/15).

The bill would permit an exception if a doctor attests that the requirements must be waived because of an emergency. It states that the requirements do not apply to procedures related to miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies or premature deliveries.

The bill now moves to the Senate (Huffington Post, 3/14).