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House Bill Aims to Expand Abortion Protections – Town Square Delaware LIVE

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

Democratic Lawmakers on Thursday tabled legislation they say will improve the availability of abortions and protect patients and providers from lawsuits 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 following a leaked draft notice suggesting that the United States Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade, the legal precedent that guarantees Americans’ ability to have abortions.

While many states moved to pass increasingly restrictive abortion laws ahead of the expected ruling, others worked to ensure the protections of Roe v. Wade remain at the state level, even if overruled at the federal level.

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

House Bill 455 will be:

  • Retain communications and records regarding reproductive health services, unless such records are needed to investigate allegations of abuse against a provider.
  • Prevent people from being extradited to other states on criminal charges related to abortions.
  • Protect Delawares who seek, obtain, provide, or assist others in obtaining legal abortions from civil actions in other states.
  • Provide a cause of action in which a person sued in another state for allegedly receiving or providing legal abortion services in Delaware can recover related costs, damages, or attorneys’ fees.
  • Clarify that healthcare professionals who perform, recommend, or provide legal reproductive health services in Delaware are not subject to other states’ abortion provider regulations.
  • Prohibit insurers from raising premiums or taking adverse action against providers and organizations that provide legal reproductive health services. This protection would extend to healthcare professionals who prescribe abortive drugs via telehealth.

HB 455 would also expand the scope of healthcare professionals who can perform abortions before the point of viability to include physician assistants, certified nurse practitioners and nurse midwives who are approved by the Nursing Council.

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

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