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Massachusetts

Biased Counseling & Mandatory Delay

Massachusetts has a partially unconstitutional and unenforceable law that provides that a woman may not obtain an abortion until at least 24 hours after she signs a consent form that must include:  (1) a description of the stage of development of the "unborn child"; (2) the type of abortion procedure to be used and the possible complications of the abortion; (3) the availability of alternatives to abortion; and (4) a statement that a woman's choice not to terminate a pregnancy shall not constitute grounds for the denial of public assistance.  Mass. Gen. Laws Ann. ch. 112, § 12S (Enacted 1974; Last Amended 1980).

A court held that the mandatory delay and the requirement that the consent form include a description of fetal development are unconstitutional.  Planned Parenthood League of Mass., Inc. v. Bellotti, No. 80-1166-MA (D. Mass. Nov. 4, 1987).

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