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Medical Malpractice Insurance Requirement


S.B. 876
- Sen. Patrick Colbeck

Current Status
S.B. 876 was introduced on December 8, 2011 and referred to the Senate Committee on Insurance. In May 2012, Rep. Bruce Rendon introduced the prolife omnibus bill H.B. 5711, (aka "the Prolife Bus"), which incorporated the provisions of S.B. 876 into it. The House passed H.B. 5711 on June 13, 2012. Prior to giving H.B.5711 passage on December 12, 2013, the Senate removed the medical malpractice provisions after consensus could not be reached between the governor and House and Senate leaders on the scope of the malpractice reform. Bill sponsor, Sen. Colbeck, indicated he might consider a different approach to legislation in the new 2013-2014 session to hold accountable abortionists with bad track records of harming women.

Description

S.B. 876 would require certain physicians who perform abortions to carry medical malpractice insurance of at least $1 million, or provide equivalent security to compensate a woman suffering from abortion complications. The bill will apply to any physician that performs 5 or more abortions per month, AND meets any of the following criteria:

  • The physician has been sued in civil court two or more times in the last 7 years for harm caused by abortions the physician performed, or

  • A medical board has imposed one or more sanctions on the physician's license for unprofessional, unethical, or negligent conduct in the past 7 years, or

  • The physician operates or supervises an abortion facility that has been found noncompliant with health and safety requirements in a follow-up inspection, after a prior inspection had identified the compliance failures and needed corrective action.

If a physician who meets the above criteria does not carry medical malpractice insurance or provide equivalent security, the medical board must limit immediately the physician's license, prohibiting the physician from performing abortions until the physician secures insurance.

Background
Many states already require all physicians to carry liability insurance. This legislation would apply only to abortionists who show signs of endangering women as evidenced by multiple lawsuits, a sanction on the physician's license, or operation of a sub-standard facility. Requiring these abortionists to maintain medical malpractice insurance is a matter of consumer protection. Currently, a substantial number of abortionists do not carry medical malpractice insurance. This restricts a woman's ability to obtain just compensation for an injury. The legislation may result in some abortionists going out of business, since their poor track record has driven up the cost for them to secure insurance.

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