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For Immediate Release

Date: 03/07/11

Rep. Clark Proposes 24-Hour Waiting Period Before an Abortion Procedure

AUGUSTA - State Rep. Tyler Clark (R-Easton) has submitted legislation to require a 24-hour waiting period before a physician can perform an abortion after first securing informed written consent, except in cases involving a medical emergency.

Rep. Clark's legislation - "An Act to Require a 24-Hour Waiting Period Prior to an Abortion" - has been referred to the Legislature's Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over abortion and reproductive rights. The bill has seven cosponsors, six in the House and one in the Senate.

Rep. Clark said he introduced the bill because a pregnant 18-year-old friend of his went to a clinic for services. "She didn't go in there for an abortion, but the nurse at the clinic tried to talk her into having one immediately," he said. "I did not feel that was right, and I imagine many young women may be talked into something they are not ready for. I don't think it's unreasonable for someone to wait 24 hours before making such a life-changing decision.

"The intent of this bill is not to make it harder for women to have abortions," he added. "The intent is to insure that women who do proceed are informed and make the best decision for themselves and their families. If this becomes law, it would have no effect on medical emergencies."

The legislation describes a medical emergency as "a condition that, on the basis of the physician's good-faith clinical judgment, so complicates the medical condition of a pregnant woman as to necessitate the immediate abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or to avoid a delay that would create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function." ###

Jay Finegan
Maine House Republicans
Tel: (207) 287-1445