Walking into an Abortion Clinic, Part I

Walking into an Abortion Clinic, Part I

Since 1996, Center for Arizona Policy has successfully supported over 27 pro-life measures that have become Arizona law. In a two-part 5 Minutes for Families we will highlight some of the laws regulating abortion, and outline how they apply when a woman walks into an abortion clinic.

Before walking into an abortion clinic

  • It is illegal for anyone to coerce a woman into getting an abortion. This would include for example, her parents, boyfriend, husband, employer, or intended parents of her surrogate baby.
  • If a minor losses financial support from her parents because she refuses to have an abortion, she is eligible for public assistance.

While in the abortion clinic waiting room

  • There must be a sign indicating that she has the right not to be coerced.
  • The clinic’s license must be posted.
  • The clinic must meet basic standards for keeping clinic sterile and clean.
  • She cannot be required to pay for abortion-related services at the first visit.
  • She cannot be given a prescription for abortion-inducing drugs.
  • She shouldn’t be given informed consent paperwork until she meets with the doctor.
  • She cannot contractually be required to have an abortion.

Informed consent at least 24 hours before the abortion

  • She must individually consult with clinic medical staff orally, in person, and in a private room.
  • A doctor must inform her of:
    • Name of the physician who will perform the abortion.
    • Nature of the proposed procedure or treatment.
    • Immediate and long-term medical risks.
    • Alternatives to abortion.
    • Probable gestational age of the unborn child at the time the abortion is to be performed.
    • The probable anatomical and physiological characteristics of the unborn child at the time the abortion is to be performed.
    • The medical risks associated with carrying the child to term.
    • A physician, nurse, or licensed counselor must inform her that:
      • Medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, childbirth and neonatal care.
      • Father of the unborn child is liable to assist in the support of the child, even if he has offered to pay for the abortion.
      • Public and private agencies and services are available to assist her during her pregnancy and after the birth.
      • It is unlawful for any person to coerce a woman to undergo an abortion.
      • She is free to withhold or withdraw her consent to the abortion at any time.
      • She must certify in writing that she was given this information.

Ultrasound at least 24 hours before the abortion

  • Ultrasound must be performed by either a physician or an ultrasound technician.
  • Same procedure and protocol must be followed as with any other ultrasound.
  • If an ultrasound is not performed at the clinic, she must have a referral signifying that she had the ultrasound performed.
  • She must be given the opportunity to view the active ultrasound.
  • She must be given the opportunity to hear the heartbeat, if audible.
  • If the woman wants to see the active ultrasound, the clinic staff must offer to explain what’s on the screen.
  • She may have a printed picture of the ultrasound image if requested.
  • She certifies in writing that she had the ultrasound and the opportunity to hear the heart, and have a printed photo.

To be continued . . . In Part II, we will address laws related the abortion procedure, judicial bypass for minors, and what happens after the abortion.


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