Maine Consent for Abortion for A Minor Law 2015 (LD 83)
This law was last updated on Feb 27, 2015
LD 83 would prohibit a physician from performing an abortion upon a minor or incapacitated person without first obtaining the written consent of a parent or legal guardian. The bill would also require the physician to obtain from the parent or legal guardian government-issued proof of identity and written documentation that establishes that the parent or legal guardian is the lawful parent or legal guardian of the minor. The physician would be required to keep a copy of the consent and proof of identity in the minor’s medical file for five years after the minor turns 18 or 7 years following the abortion, whichever is longer.
In cases where the minor or incapacitated person declares in a signed written statement that she is a victim of sexual abuse, neglect or physical abuse by a parent or her legal guardian, the physician would be required to obtain written consent (“alternate consent”) from a brother or sister who is at least 21 years of age or from a stepparent or grandparent specified by the minor or incapacitated person. The bill would require the physician to obtain government-issued proof of identity and written documentation establishing the relationship between the minor or incapacitated person and the person providing alternate consent.
Consent would not be required if the physician certifies that a medical emergency exists and there isn’t enough time to obtain the required consent.
The bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services to create a form to be used by physicians to obtain the consent required prior to performing an abortion on a minor who is not emancipated. That form would contain a wide variety of information as outlined in the law, including a list of risks and hazards of abortion. Both the minor and the parent or legal guardian would be required to sign the last page of the form and initial every page of the form.
The bill would also require that a physician declaration be signed by the physician stating that the physician or the physician’s assistant has explained the procedure and the contents of the form to the minor and her parent or legal guardian, as required, and has answered all questions. In addition, the parent or legal guardian would be required to sign a separate parental consent statement stating that he or she understands the information provided on the form and that he or she has been offered an opportunity to ask questions, among other things.
The bill would prohibit coercing a minor into having an abortion. If a minor is denied financial support due to her refusal to have an abortion, that minor would be deemed emancipated for purposes of obtaining public assistance benefits. The bill would prohibit using those public assistance benefits to obtain an abortion.
Physician Reporting Requirement
The bill would require physicians to submit monthly reports which state the number of consents obtained under this law, the number of times exceptions to the consent requirement were made and why, the age of the minor, and the number of prior pregnancies and prior abortions of the minor.
The bill would require the Department of Health and Human Services to compile data from the physician reports on an annual basis and make that data available to the public.
Judicial Bypass Procedure
The bill would permit a minor to petition a court for a waiver of the consent requirement. The bill states that the court must issue an order authorizing an abortion without the consent of a parent or guardian if the court finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that the minor is: (1) both sufficiently mature and well-informed to decide whether to have an abortion; or (2) the victim of physical or sexual abuse by one or both of her parents or legal guardian, or that obtaining the consent of a parent or legal guardian is not in the best interest of the minor.
Similar to LD 1339, which failed to pass in 2013.