36-2156. Informed consent; ultrasound required; violation; civil relief; statute of limitations
A. An abortion shall not be performed or induced without the voluntary and informed consent of the woman on whom the abortion is to be performed or induced. Except in the case of a medical emergency and in addition to the other requirements of this chapter, consent to an abortion is voluntary and informed only if both of the following are true:
1. At least twenty-four hours before the woman having any part of an abortion performed or induced, and before the administration of any anesthesia or medication in preparation for the abortion on the woman, the physician who is to perform the abortion, the referring physician or a qualified person working in conjunction with either physician shall:
(a) Perform fetal ultrasound imaging and auscultation of fetal heart tone services on the woman undergoing the abortion.
(b) Offer to provide the woman with an opportunity to view the active ultrasound image of the unborn child and hear the heartbeat of the unborn child if the heartbeat is audible. The active ultrasound image must be of a quality consistent with standard medical practice in the community, contain the dimensions of the unborn child and accurately portray the presence of external members and internal organs, if present or viewable, of the unborn child. The auscultation of fetal heart tone must be of a quality consistent with standard medical practice in the community.
(c) Offer to provide the woman with a simultaneous explanation of what the ultrasound is depicting, including the presence and location of the unborn child within the uterus, the number of unborn children depicted, the dimensions of the unborn child and the presence of any external members and internal organs, if present or viewable.
(d) Offer to provide the patient with a physical picture of the ultrasound image of the unborn child.
2. The woman certifies in writing before the abortion that she has been given the opportunity to view the active ultrasound image and hear the heartbeat of the unborn child if the heartbeat is audible and that she opted to view or not view the active ultrasound image and hear or not hear the heartbeat of the unborn child.
B. A physician who knowingly violates this section commits an act of unprofessional conduct and is subject to license suspension or revocation pursuant to title 32, chapter 13 or 17.
C. In addition to other remedies available under the common or statutory law of this state, any of the following may file a civil action to obtain appropriate relief for a violation of this section:
1. A woman on whom an abortion has been performed without her informed consent as required by this section.
2. The father of the unborn child if married to the mother at the time she received the abortion, unless the pregnancy resulted from the plaintiff's criminal conduct.
3. The maternal grandparents of the unborn child if the mother was not at least eighteen years of age at the time of the abortion, unless the pregnancy resulted from the plaintiff's criminal conduct.
D. A civil action filed pursuant to subsection C of this section shall be brought in the superior court in the county in which the woman on whom the abortion was performed resides and may be based on a claim that failure to obtain informed consent was a result of simple negligence, gross negligence, wantonness, wilfulness, intention or any other legal standard of care. Relief pursuant to subsection C of this section includes any of the following:
1. Money damages for all psychological, emotional and physical injuries resulting from the violation of this section.
2. Statutory damages in an amount equal to five thousand dollars or three times the cost of the abortion, whichever is greater.
3. Reasonable attorney fees and costs.
E. A civil action brought pursuant to this section must be initiated within six years after the violation occurred.