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Pennsylvania

Biased Counseling & Mandatory Delay

A woman may not obtain an abortion until at least 24 hours after the attending or referring physician orally informs her of: (1) the probable gestational age of the fetus; (2) the nature of the proposed procedure, including risks and alternatives; and (3) the medical risks of carrying the pregnancy to term.

In addition, at least 24 hours prior to an abortion, the woman must receive from the attending or referring physician, a health-care practitioner, physician's assistant, technician, or social worker a state-mandated lecture that must include: (1) that medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care; (2) that the "father" is liable for child support, even if he offered to pay for an abortion; and (3) that she has a right to review state-prepared materials that describe the "unborn child" and list agencies that offer alternatives to abortion.

The state-prepared materials must: (1) describe with pictures the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the fetus at two-week gestational increments, including the possibility of survival; (2) provide information about medical assistance benefits for prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care; (3) state that a physician who provides abortion services without a woman's "informed" consent may be liable to her for damages in a civil action; (4) state that the "father" is liable for child support, even if he offered to pay for an abortion; (5) state that adoptive parents may legally pay the costs of prenatal care, childbirth, and neonatal care; (6) describe the commonly employed abortion procedures, the medical risks associated with each, the "possible detrimental psychological effects of abortion," and the medical risks of carrying a pregnancy to term; and (7) provide a comprehensive list of public and private agencies and services, including adoption agencies, available to assist the woman through pregnancy, upon childbirth, and while the child is dependent, or include a 24-hour toll-free hotline to obtain such a list.

18 Pa. Cons. Stat. Ann. §§ 3205, 3208 (Enacted 1982; Last Amended 1989).

The U.S. Supreme Court held that this law is constitutional. Planned Parenthood of S.E. Pa. v. Casey, 505 U.S. 833 (1992).

The state-prepared materials include enlarged color photographs of fetuses.  Dep't Of Health, Commonwealth Of Pennsylvania, Abortion:  Making A Decision (undated).

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