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Restrictions on Young Women's Access to Abortion

Oklahoma 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 notice or parental consent?  Both notice and consent.


Who must have knowledge or provide consent?  One parent.


Are there other trusted adults who may have knowledge or provide consent?  No.


What is the process for providing notice and obtaining consent?  A young woman may not obtain an abortion until at least 48 hours after actual, written notice and a request for written informed consent is given in person by the physician or an agent to one parent and the physician has obtained the written informed consent of one parent.  In lieu of notice and a request for written informed consent delivered in person, constructive notice and request for written informed consent by certified mail, return-receipt requested and restricted to the addressee, must be given.  The parent must certify in a notarized statement that he or she has been notified and consents to the abortion.


May the parental mandate be waived if a young woman is a victim of rape or incest?  Yes, but the physician must notify law-enforcement authorities about the alleged abuse.


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 physical condition, not including any emotional, psychological, or mental 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."  However, unless a young woman declares her intent to seek a judicial waiver, the physician or an agent must give verbal and written notice to one parent within 24 hours after the provision of a medical-emergency abortion.


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, by clear and convincing evidence, either that she is mature and capable of giving informed consent or that an abortion without parental notification and consent is in her best interests.

In assessing if the young woman is mature and capable, the court may consider, among other relevant factors including the woman's age, work experience, how much time she has spent outside the home, and how she handles her personal finances.


Are there other significant requirements under the law?  A physician who intentionally or knowingly provides an abortion without parental notification and consent commits a felony.


Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law?  Yes.  A lower federal court concluded that the portion of the law that addresses the costs of medical treatment is unconstitutional and issued a permanent injunction, but an appellate court held that the law was constitutional and reversed the lower court's decision.  Nova Health Sys. v. Fogarty, 01-CV-0419-EA (N.D. Okla. June 14, 2002), rev'd, 388 F.3d 744 (10th Cir. 2004).  The same appellate court later held that abortion providers did not have standing to challenge the law's constitutionality.  Nova Health Sys. v. Gandy, 416 F.3d 1149 (10th Cir. 2005).


Other information about the law:  No.


Okla. Stat. Ann. tit. 63, §§ 1-740 (Enacted 2001) 1-740.1 to .3 (Enacted 2005; Last Amended 2013), 1-740.4 (Enacted 2005, Last Amended 2006), 1-740.4a to .4b (Enacted 2007; Last Amended 2013), 1-740.5 (Enacted 2005), 1-744.1 to .6 (Enacted 2013).


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