Abortion Law and Minors
We encourage women 17 and under to involve a parent or family member in the decision to have an abortion. In addition, the State of Mississippi requires women under 18 to comply with the parental notification law, which means that a teen must have the written permission of both of her parents or her legal guardian. If the minorís parents are divorced or unmarried and living separately, the minor only needs written consent of the parent with primary custody. If the minorís parents are married and one parent is unavailable in a reasonable time and manor, only consent of the available parent is required. Finally, if a teen feels she cannot talk to her parent or guardian about her decision, she may go to court and ask a judge to waive the notification requirement.
Informed Consent Laws
In 1996 and 2007 Mississippi passed laws outlining consent for abortion services.
At least 24 hours prior to receiving abortion services, a woman must be told the following in person by the physician performing the abortion or the referring physician:
· The name of the physician who will perform the abortion.
· The medical risks associated with the abortion procedure to be employed.
· The probable gestational age of the fetus at the time of the abortion.
· The medical risks associated with carrying her child to term.
At least 24 hours prior to receiving abortion services, a woman must be told the following in person by the physician performing the abortion or his agent:
· That medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, childbirth and neonatal care;
· That the father is liable to assist in the support of her child, even in instances in which the father has offered to pay for the abortion;
· That there are public and private agencies which provide pregnancy prevention counseling and medical referrals for obtaining pregnancy prevention medications or devices; and
· That she has the right to review printed materials provided by the State that describe the fetus and list agencies that offer alternatives to abortion. If a woman chooses to view those materials, copies of them shall be furnished to her. The physician or his agent may disassociate himself or themselves from those materials, and may comment or refrain from comment on them as he chooses. The physician or his agent shall provide the woman with the printed materials.
In addition, a woman must certify in writing before the abortion that the information above has been furnished to her, and that she has been informed of her opportunity to review the materials provided by the state. The physician performing abortion services must receive a copy of the written certification before the abortion is performed.
Fetal Ultrasound and Fetal Heart Tone
Before performing an abortion, the physician who is to perform the abortion or a qualified assistant must:
· Perform a fetal ultrasound on the woman to receive and abortion, as well as determine whether a fetal heart tone is audible
· Offer the woman an opportunity to view the active ultrasound image of the fetus and hear the heartbeat of the fetus if it is audible
· Offer the woman a physical picture of the ultrasound image of the fetus
· Have the patient sign a certification form stating that she was given the opportunity to view the active ultrasound image and hear the heartbeat of the fetus (if audible), and that she was offered a physical picture of the ultrasound image
· Retain a copy of the signed certification form in the womanís medical record.
The ultrasound image must be of a quality consistent with standard medical practice in the community, shall contain the dimensions of the unborn child and shall accurately portray the presence of external members and internal organs, if present or viewable, of the fetus.