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Restrictions on Young Women's Access to Abortion

Arizona law restricts young women's access to abortion. 

Is the law enforceable?  Yes.  A federal court held that this law is constitutional.  Planned Parenthood of S. Ariz. v. LaWall, 307 F.3d 783 (9th Cir. 2002). In July 2009, Arizona passed a law that requires notarized parental consent for young women to obtain abortion care.  In September 2009, in Planned Parenthood Arizona, Inc. v. Goddard, a state superior court blocked portions of Arizona's parental consent law.  H.B. 2564, 49th Leg., 2009; 1st Sess. (Ariz. 2009) (Enacted 2009) (to be codified at Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 36-2153); Planned Parenthood Arizona, Inc. v. Goddard, CV 2009-029110 (Ariz. Super. Ct. Sept. 29, 2009) (order granting preliminary injunction).

Who is considered a minor?  A young woman under the age of 18. 

What is required - parental consent or parental notice?  Notarized consent. 

Who must provide consent?  One parent. 

Are there other trusted adults who may provide consent instead?  Yes - guardians and conservators. 

What is the process for obtaining consent?  A young woman may not obtain an abortion unless the attending physician secures the notarized written consent of one parent. 

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of rape or incest?  Yes, a young woman may obtain an abortion without parental consent if she certifies to the attending physician that the pregnancy resulted from sexual conduct by a parent, stepparent, adoptive parent, uncle, grandparent, sibling, legal guardian or foster parent, or person living with her and her mother.  The physician must report the sexual conduct and forward a fetal-tissue sample to law enforcement officials for use in a criminal investigation. 

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of child abuse?  Yes.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman's health is threatened?  Yes, but only if a medical emergency exists.  A medical emergency is defined as a medical condition that necessitates an immediate abortion to preserve the woman's life or for which a delay will create "serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of major bodily function."

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?  To secure the required court order, a young woman must prove by clear and convincing evidence that she is mature and capable of giving informed consent or that an abortion without parental consent is in her best interests.  The court may take into consideration, when assessing the young woman's experience level, among other relevant factors, her age and experiences working outside the home, traveling on her own, handling personal finances and making other significant decisions.  Furthermore, the court may take into consideration, when assessing the young woman's judgment, her conduct since learning about her pregnancy and her intellectual ability to understand her options and to make informed decisions.  The young woman may participate on her own behalf or have an appointed or private counsel or may waive counsel.  In re B.S. 74 P.3d 285 (Ariz. App. Div. 1 2003); Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 36-2153(Enacted 2009).

Are there other significant requirements under the law?  No.

Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law?  No.  Earlier, however, a court held that the previous parental-consent law without notarization is constitutional.  Planned Parenthood of S. Ariz. v. LaWall, 307 F.3d 783 (9th Cir. 2002).

Other information about the law:  The parents or guardian of the minor may bring civil action if it is based on a claim that proper consent was not obtained and can bring suit against anyone who assists the minor in receiving abortion care.  The statute of limitation is six years. Any person found assisting a minor in obtaining abortion care, other than the trusted adults that may provide legal consent, can be charged with a misdemeanor.  Ariz. Rev. Stat. Ann. §§ 36-2152 (Enacted 2000; Amended 2012, 2014), 1-215(22) (Original Statute Enacted 1901; Relevant Provision Enacted 1956; Last Amended 2006); Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 36-2153 (Enacted 2009), Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 36-2161 (Enacted 2010, Amended 2014).

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