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New Jersey

Restrictions on Young Women's Access to Abortion

New Jersey restricts young women's access to abortion.

Is the law enforceable?  No.  A state court held that this law is unconstitutional and unenforceable because it violates the equal-protection provision of the New Jersey Constitution by burdening, without adequate justification, a woman's right to choose.  Planned Parenthood of Cent. N.J. v. Farmer, 762 A.2d 620 (N.J. 2000).

Who is considered a minor?  A young woman under the age of 18 who is not married, and is not serving in active duty in the military services, or who has been found to be incompetent by a court order.

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 until at least 48 hours after written notice has been delivered personally by the attending physician or by certified mail to one parent, unless the parent entitled to notice provides a written, notarized statement that notice was received.  If notice is made by certified mail, the 48-hour period begins to run at noon on the next day on which regular mail delivery takes place.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of rape or incest?  No.  However, the young woman may try to obtain a court order allowing the abortion by providing to a court clear and convincing evidence that a pattern of sexual abuse by a parent exists.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of child abuse?  No.  However, the young woman may try to obtain a court order allowing the abortion by providing to a court clear and convincing evidence that a pattern of physical or emotional abuse by a parent exists.

May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman's health is threatened?  Yes, but only if the attending physician certifies in writing that a medical emergency exists, defined as a medical condition that necessitates an immediate termination to preserve the woman's life or for which a delay will create "serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment 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 finding by clear and convincing evidence that she is sufficiently mature to decide whether to have an abortion, that there is a pattern of physical, sexual, or emotional abuse by a parent, or that parental notice is not in her best interests.

Are there other significant requirements under the law?  At the time the young woman initially requests abortion services, the physician responsible for providing parental notice or the physician's designee shall provide the young woman with a state-prepared fact sheet explaining the judicial-bypass procedure.

Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law?  Yes.  A court held that this law is unconstitutional under the state constitution.  Planned Parenthood of Cent. N.J. v. Farmer, 762 A.2d 620 (N.J. 2000).

Other information about the law:  None.

N.J. Stat. Ann. §§ 9:17A-1.1 to -1.12 (Enacted 1999).

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