LegHallEvening

House bill aims to expand abortion protections

Charlie Megginson Government, Headlines

LegHallEvening

A bill filed in the Delaware House of Representatives would create additional protections in advance of the Supreme Court’s potential overturning of Roe v. Wade. (Getty Images)

Democratic lawmakers filed legislation Thursday they say will improve the availability of abortions and protect patients and providers from facing legal action under other states’ abortion laws. 

Rep. Melissa Minor-Brown, D-New Castle, Rep. Valerie Longhurst, D-Bear, and Sen. Kyle Evans Gay, D-Talleyville, announced the legislation in the wake of a leaked draft opinion suggesting the United States Supreme Court may overturn Roe v. Wade, the legal precedent that guarantees Americans’ ability to receive abortions.

While many states have moved to pass increasingly restrictive abortion laws ahead of the expected decision, others have worked to ensure the protections of Roe v. Wade remain at the state level, even if it’s overturned at the federal level.

In Delaware, the protections of Roe v. Wade are already codified in state law, guaranteeing residents have access to legal abortion services even if the decision is overturned

House Bill 455 will:

  • Guard communications and records concerning reproductive health services, unless those records are needed to investigate claims of abuse against a provider.
  • Prevent individuals from being extradited to other states on criminal charges related to abortions.
  • Protect Delawareans who seek, obtain, provide, or assist others in obtaining legal abortions from civil actions in other states.
  • Provide a cause of action where someone sued in another state for allegedly receiving or providing abortion services that are legal in Delaware can recover related costs, damages, or attorney fees.
  • Clarify that medical professionals who perform, recommend, or provide legal reproductive health services in Delaware are not subject to other states’ abortion provider regulations.
  • Prohibit insurers from increasing premiums or taking adverse actions against providers and organizations for providing legal reproductive health care services. This protection would extend to medical professionals who prescribe abortion medication via telehealth.

HB 455 would also expand the field of medical professionals who may perform abortions before the point of viability to include physician assistants, certified nurse practitioners and nurse-midwives who are approved by the Board of Nursing.

Physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses are already authorized to prescribe medication for the termination of pregnancy under HB 320, a law the General Assembly passed earlier this year.

HB 455 has been assigned to the House Health & Human Development Committee.

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