House endorses bill to prevent abortion coercion


HELENA — The House is backing a proposal that seeks to prevent women from being coerced into having an abortion.

House Bill 544 would require women to be evaluated at least one hour before an abortion to see if she is feeling pressured or is at risk of having a negative reaction after the operation. The measure would allow patients to sue doctors for $10,000 for failing to screen them.

Supporters say the measure would protect women from doctors who might disregard a woman's health or mental state before performing an abortion.

Legislators opposing the measure say it places an unnecessary hurdle between a doctor and patient and goes against standard medical procedure.

The bill passed on a 55-44 vote Wednesday and faces one usually procedural vote before heading to the Senate.


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