Del. Legislation Addresses Concerns Following US Supreme Court Dobbs Ruling

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In the wake of the US Supreme Court Dobbs decision that overturns Roe v. Wade, Delaware lawmakers have passed legislation that would expand access to abortion services and enhance protections for abortion providers and patients who seek an abortion.
Under House Bill 455, advanced practice registered nurses would be able to perform abortions, in alignment with their scope of practice for purposes of terminating a pregnancy. Medical privacy and matters of extradition to other states of women who travel to Delaware to seek an abortion are also addressed.
The bill goes to Governor John Carney for his signature.

“While Delaware codified Roe into our state’s constitution years ago, abortions will be effectively outlawed by conservative state legislatures across our country within a matter of months,” State Senator Kyle Evans Gay, D-Talleyville said.  “While these states are actively stripping away women’s rights and access to health care, it is up to us to ensure that Delaware remains a safe and welcoming place to seek reproductive health services.”

According to the bill’s sponsors, it contains these provisions and protections:

  • Expanding provider capacity. Under HB 455, advanced practice registered nurses will be able to perform abortions in alignment with their scope of practice for the purposes of terminating a pregnancy.
  • Protecting medical privacy. This bill would prevent providers from disclosing communications and records concerning reproductive health services, with an exception for if such records are requested for the purposes of investigating a complaint against a health care provider. 
  • Limiting extradition powers. Provisions in this bill protect individuals from extradition to other states for criminal charges related to the termination of a pregnancy.
  • Preventing civil action and providing a cause of action. Under HB 455, those who seek, obtain, provide, or assist others in obtaining services to terminate a pregnancy in Delaware would be protected from civil actions in another state. This bill would also 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.
  • Protecting abortion providers. This bill clarifies that medical professionals who perform, recommend, or provide legal reproductive health services in Delaware are not subject to other states’ abortion provider regulations. This bill would also prohibit insurers from increasing premiums or taking adverse actions against providers and organizations for providing legal reproductive health care services, even via telehealth.

We have come a long way to get to a place where women have access to safe, reproductive healthcare, and we refuse to move backward,” Representative Melissa Minor-Brown, D-New Castle said. “None of us are in the business of telling a woman how to regulate their body. When it comes to implementing what’s right, we have the responsibility to make sure we always cover access, privacy, and protections so that anyone needing help here in Delaware can count on quality care from providers.”

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