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Restrictions on Young Women's Access to Abortion

Maryland 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.

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

Who must be notified?  One parent.

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

What is the process for providing notification?  A young woman may not obtain an abortion unless the attending physician gives notice to a parent, unless the young woman does not live with a parent and a reasonable, but unsuccessful effort has been made to give notice to a parent.  A postal receipt showing that mail was sent by certified mail to the last known address of a parent is conclusive evidence of notice or a reasonable effort to give notice.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of rape or incest?  No.

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.  A physician has discretion to provide an abortion when, "in the professional judgment of the physician," parental "[n]otification would not be in the best interest of the minor."

May the parental mandate be waived under any other circumstances?  Yes.  There are three situations in which a physician has discretion to provide the procedure without parental notification.  The physician would make the professional judgment that either:  (1) notice to the parent may lead to physical or emotional abuse of the minor; (2) the young woman is mature and capable of giving informed consent; or (3) notice would not be in the best interest of the young woman.

Are there other significant requirements under the law?  No.  The law does not contain a judicial-bypass procedure.

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

Other information about the law:  None.

Md. Code Ann., Health-Gen. § 20-103 (Former Statute Enacted 1967; Current Statute Enacted 1982; Last Amended 1991); Md. Code art. 1, § 24 (Enacted 1973; Last Amended 2002).

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