West Virginia Parental Notification Law (SB 279)
This law was last updated on Oct 27, 2014
SB 279 would have prohibited performing an abortion on a pregnant female unless (1) the physician has obtained proof that the female is eighteen years of age or older or proof that the minor is emancipated; or (2) a circuit court or family court judge in the county in which the female resides enters an order authorizing the abortion. Records
The bill would have prohibited a physician from performing an abortion on an unemancipated minor unless the physician notifies a parent or legal guardian of the minor at least 48 hours prior to the procedure. The bill also would have required the physician to keep a copy of the notice in the woman’s medical records for seven years or until five years after she reaches the age of majority.
Prior to performing the abortion, the physician would have been required to: (1) obtain from the parent who received notice proof of identification which a reasonable person would have relied upon as sufficient evidence that the person is the parent of the minor; (2) certify that the information provided by the woman confirming her age is information that a reasonable person would have relied on as sufficient to confirm her age; (3) certify that the information provided by the minor concerning the last known address of the parent is information that a reasonable person would have relied on as sufficient to confirm the parent’s last known address.
Notice would not have been required if: (1) there is a medical emergency; (2) notice is waived by the parent or guardian; (3) the minor bypasses the notice requirement through the courts (judicial bypass).
In the case of a medical emergency abortion, unless the minor gives notice of her intent to seek a judicial bypass waiver, the physician would have been required to provide verbal notice to the minor’s parent or guardian that the procedure was performed and the basis of the medical emergency. Verbal notice would have been required within 24 hours. The physician would also have been required to send written notice to the last known address of the minor’s parent or guardian by certified mail.
The bill would have permitted a minor to petition a circuit court judge or family court judge in the county in which the pregnant minor resides for a waiver of the consent requirement. The judge must issue an order authorizing an abortion without the consent of a parent or guardian if the judge finds, by clear and convincing evidence, that the minor is mature and capable of giving informed consent to the abortion. If the judge finds that the minor is not mature, the court would have been required to authorize the abortion if the judge concludes that the abortion is in the minor’s best interest.
The bill states that the judicial waiver proceedings are confidential and take precedence over any other matters so that a decision may be reached promptly and without delay.
If the petition is filed in family court and is not heard within three days, jurisdiction would have been transferred to circuit court for immediate hearing.
Physician Reporting Requirements
The bill would have required physicians to report various information to the Department of Health and Human Resources, including the number of abortions performed on unemancipated minors, the number of parents to whom notice was provided, the number of abortions performed on minors without notice to their parents or guardian, and the number of abortions performed after receiving judicial authorization to do so without parental notification.
In addition, the bill would have required a physician to provide a written report to the Department a written report of the procedure within thirty days of having performed the abortion.
A person who performs an abortion in violation of the bill would have been subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability.
By June 30 of each year, the state department of health would have been required to issue a public report providing statistics compiled from all the reports provided by physicians.
Identical to SB 93, which failed to pass in 2013.