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Restrictions on Young Women's Access to Abortion

Arkansas law restricts young women's access to abortion. 

Is the law enforceable?  Yes.

Who is considered a minor?  A young woman under the age of 18 who is under the care, custody, and control of her parents.

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

Who must be notified?  One parent. 

Are there other trusted adults who may be notified instead?  No.

What is the process for obtaining consent?  A young woman may not obtain an abortion until the physician obtains the written and notarized consent of one of her parents.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of rape or incest?  Yes, if the young woman states by affidavit that she only has one living parent and that parent committed incest with her, raped her, or otherwise sexually abused her, parental consent is not required.

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 a medical emergency exists. A medical emergency is defined as a medical condition of the young woman that necessitates an immediate abortion to preserve her 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?  She must secure a court order stating either that she is mature and capable of giving informed consent or that an abortion without parental consent is in her best interests.

Are there other significant requirements under the law?  Yes, the consenting parent must appear in person to provide the attending physician with proof of identification.

Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law?  No.

Other information about the law:  None.

Ark. Code Ann. § 20-16-801 to -810 (Enacted 1989, Last Amended 2005).

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