The Human Life Protection Act of 2023: What You Need to Know
In recent years, several states have enacted legislation that either bans abortions entirely or imposes severe restrictions, hindering access to the procedure.
For example, Florida just signed the Heartbeat Protection Act which limits abortions to six weeks.
Recently, 19 state attorney generals (AGs) warned retailers such as Costco, Kroger, Walmart, and others about the sale and distribution of abortion pills through mail. And, although some of the ruling was overturned, a Texas judge halted the sale of the first pill in the two-part dose of the abortion pill.
Now, North Carolina is seeking to ban abortions through the Human Life Protection Act. Below is our team’s best explanation of the current bill in the House of North Carolina.
Introduction to the Human Life Protection Act of 2023
The Human Life Protection Act of 2023 is a groundbreaking piece of legislation in the General Assembly of North Carolina. This act aims to protect the lives of preborn babies by prohibiting abortion after conception, with specific exceptions to preserve the life of the mother.
Understanding Abortion Definitions and Exceptions
The act defines abortion as the intentional use of any instrument, drug, or other means to cause the death of a preborn baby of a known pregnant woman.
The bill sets forth several conditions under which an abortion is allowed:
- The abortion is performed by a licensed physician
- The pregnant woman has a physical condition that could be life-threatening, caused by or arising from the pregnancy
- The procedure provides the best opportunity for the preborn baby to survive without posing significant risks to the mother’s health
Accidental or unintentional injury or death of a preborn child resulting from medical treatment provided by a licensed physician does not violate the prohibition.
The Legal Consequences of Violating the Act
Violations of the Human Life Protection Act of 2023 carry serious legal consequences. If the violation results in the death of a preborn baby, it is classified as a Class B1 felony. Other violations are classified as Class B2 felonies. Violators are also subject to a civil penalty of at least $100,000 per violation.
Licensing Implications for Healthcare Professionals
In addition to the legal consequences mentioned above, any physician or healthcare professional who violates the prohibition will have their license or other authority revoked by the licensing authority. Importantly, the bill does not authorize the imposition of liability or penalties on a pregnant woman who has an abortion.
Impact on Existing Abortion Statutes
The Human Life Protection Act of 2023 repeals several existing statutes related to abortion and makes conforming changes to other statutes. This demonstrates the intent of the General Assembly to make a comprehensive change in the legal landscape surrounding abortion in North Carolina.
Severability Clause and its Significance
The act includes a severability clause, which ensures that if any provision of the act or its application is held invalid, the remaining provisions will still be in effect. This is a crucial aspect of the bill, ensuring that the legislative intent to protect preborn babies, remains intact, even if certain provisions are challenged in court.
The Effective Date of the Act
If passed, the Human Life Protection Act of 2023 may go into effect as early as July 1, 2023, and applies only to abortions performed, induced, or attempted on or after the effective date of the act. Any abortions carried out before the act’s effective date will not be subject to the bill’s provisions.
Below is a quick overall summary of the Human Life Protection Act of 2023.
What is the main purpose of the Human Life Protection Act of 2023?
The primary purpose of the act is to halt abortion, except when the life of the mother is in danger, ultimately aiming to protect the lives of preborn babies.
Under what conditions is performing, inducing, or attempting an abortion allowed?
An abortion is allowed if performed by a licensed physician, the pregnant woman has a physical condition from the pregnancy, which could result in her death, and the procedure is deemed the best opportunity for the preborn baby to survive without significant risks to the mother’s health.
What are the legal consequences of violating the Human Life Protection Act of 2023?
Violations resulting in the death of a preborn baby are classified as Class B1 felonies, while other violations are Class B2 felonies. Violators are also subject to a civil penalty of at least $100,000 per violation.
What are the licensing implications for healthcare professionals who violate the act?
The licensing authority must revoke the license or other authority of any physician or healthcare professional who violates the prohibition.
Does the act impose penalties on pregnant women who have an abortion?
No, the bill does not authorize the imposition of criminal, civil, or administrative liability or penalties on a pregnant woman who has an abortion.
The Human Life Protection Act of 2023 represents a significant change in North Carolina’s approach to abortion legislation. By prohibiting abortion after conception, except under specific conditions, the act aims to protect the lives of preborn babies.
Healthcare professionals and the general public should be aware of the legal consequences and licensing implications that come with violating the act, as well as the impact on existing abortion statutes. Overall, this legislation marks a critical step in the ongoing debate surrounding abortion rights and protecting preborn babies.