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Mississippi

Restrictions on Young Women's Access to Abortion

Mississippi law restricts young women's access to abortion.

Is the law enforceable?  Yes.  Courts have held that this law is constitutional under both the federal and state constitutions.  Barnes v. Mississippi, 992 F.2d 1335 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 976 (1993); Pro-Choice Miss. v. Fordice, 716 So. 2d 645 (Miss. 1998).

Who is considered a minor?  A young woman under the age of 18 who has never been married or freed from the care, custody, or control of her parents.

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

Who must provide consent?  Both parents.

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 both parents.  However, if the young woman's parents are divorced, the consent of the custodial parent is sufficient, and if one parent is unavailable, the consent of the available parent is sufficient.  In addition, if the young woman's "pregnancy was caused by sexual intercourse" with the young woman's natural father, adoptive father, or stepfather, then the consent of her mother is sufficient.

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, but only if a specific kind of medical emergency exists.  This medical emergency is defined as a condition that necessitates an immediate abortion to preserve the woman's life or "for which a twenty-four-hour delay will create grave peril of immediate irreversible loss of a 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, by clear and convincing evidence, 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?  No.

Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law?  Yes.  Both a federal and a state court have upheld this law under the federal and state constitutions.  Barnes v. Mississippi, 992 F.2d 1335 (5th Cir.), cert. denied, 510 U.S. 976 (1993); Pro-Choice Miss. v. Fordice, 716 So. 2d 645 (Miss. 1998).

Other Information About the Law:  None.

Miss. Code Ann. §§ 41-41-31 (Enacted 1991), 51, -53, -57 (Enacted 1986), -55 (Enacted 1986; Last Amended 2007).


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