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West Virginia

Restrictions on Young Women's Access to Abortion

West Virginia 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 who has not graduated high school and is not married or otherwise emancipated.

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 24 hours after actual notice has been delivered directly, in person or by telephone, by the attending physician to one parent.  If actual notice is not possible after a reasonable effort, 48 hours constructive notice by certified mail must be given.  The 48-hour period begins to run as of the time of mailing.

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 the attending physician certifies in writing that a medical emergency exists such that "continuation of the pregnancy constitutes an immediate threat and grave risk to the life or health" of the woman.

May the parental mandate be waived under any other circumstances?  Yes, if a physician not associated professionally or financially with the physician proposed to provide the procedure determines that the young woman is mature enough to make the abortion decision independently or that parental notice is not in the minor's best interests.  The young woman also 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 she is mature and sufficiently well-informed to make her own decision or that parental notice is not in her best interests.

Are there other significant requirements under the law?  No physician who objects for any reason may be required to provide an abortion and no person who objects for any reason may be required to assist in the procedure.

Has a court considered the constitutionality of this law?  No.

Other information about the law:  None.

W. Va. Code Ann. §§ 16-2F-1 to -9 (Enacted 1984).

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