Restrictions on Young Women's Access to Abortion
Alabama law restricts young women's access to abortion.
Is the law enforceable? Yes. A state court held that this law is constitutional. Ex Parte Anonymous, 531 So. 2d 901 (Ala. 1988).
Who is considered a minor? A young woman under the age of 18 who has never been married or emancipated by court order.
What is required - parental consent or parental notice? Consent.
Who must provide consent? One parent or legal guardian.
Are there other trusted adults who may provide consent instead? No.
What is the process for obtaining consent? A young woman may not obtain an abortion unless the attending physician secures the written consent of one parent on a form provided by the physician. The consenting parent must provide proof that he/she is the young woman's parent or legal guardian.
May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of rape or incest? No, although the court shall not be required or permitted to contact the minor's parent or legal guardian, if the minor's parent or legal guardian is aware of the judicial- bypass proceeding, the parent or legal guardian shall be allowed to participate in the proceeding against the wishes of the young women.
May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of child abuse? No.
May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman's health is threatened? Yes, but only if the physician determines that a "medical emergency exists that so compromises the health, safety or well being" of the young woman as to require an immediate abortion.
May the parental mandate be waived under any other circumstances? Yes, the young woman may try to obtain permission from a judge.
If a young woman must obtain permission from a judge, what is the process? She must secure a court order stating either that she is mature and well informed enough to make her own decision or that an abortion is in her best interests.
Are there other significant requirements under the law? Yes, a young woman must present proof of maturity and knowledge of abortion. Young women are allowed to receive abortion care from physicians only.
Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law? Yes. A court upheld the constitutionality of this law as applied to a minor ward of the state who lacked a parent from whom she could obtain consent. Ex Parte Anonymous, 531 So. 2d 901 (Ala. 1988).
Other information about the law: The Alabama attorney general has issued an opinion stating that this law applies to mifepristone because it defines abortion as including the use of a drug to terminate a pregnancy. Ala. Op. Att'y Gen. No. 2001-072 (Jan. 18, 2001). Ala. Code §§ 26-21-1 to -8 (Enacted 1987).