The Legislature further finds in accordance with the U. S. Supreme Court's decision in Bellotti v. Baird, 443 U. S. 622 (1979), and H. L. v. Matheson, 450 U. S. 398 (1981), that there exists important and compelling state interests (i) in protecting minors against their own immaturity, (ii) in fostering the family structure and preserving it as a viable social unit, and (iii) in protecting the rights of parents to rear their own children in their own household.
It is, therefore, the intent of the Legislature to further these interests by enacting this parental notice provision.
(1) "Minor" means any person under the age of eighteen years who has not graduated from high school.
(2) "Unemancipated minor" means any minor who is neither married nor who has been emancipated as pursuant to applicable federal law or as provided by section twenty-seven, article seven, chapter forty-nine of this code.
(3) "Actual notice" means the giving of notice directly, in person or by telephone.
(4) "Constructive notice" means the giving of notice by certified mail to the last known address of the parents or legal guardian, return receipt requested.
(5) "Abortion" means the use of any instrument, medicine, drug or any other substance or device with intent to terminate the pregnancy of a female known to be pregnant and with intent to cause the expulsion of a fetus other than by live birth: Provided, That nothing in this article shall be construed so as to prevent the prescription, sale or transfer of intrauterine contraceptive devices or other contraceptive devices or other generally medically accepted contraceptive devices, instruments, medicines or drugs for a female who is not known to be pregnant and for whom such contraceptive devices, instruments, medicines or drugs were prescribed by a physician solely for contraceptive purposes and not for the purpose of inducing or causing the termination of a known pregnancy.
(b) Upon notification being given to any parent or to the legal guardian of such pregnant minor, the physician shall refer such pregnant minor to a counselor or caseworker of any church or school or of the department of human services or of any other comparable agency for the purpose of arranging or accompanying such pregnant minor in consultation with her parents. Such counselor shall thereafter be authorized to monitor the circumstances and the continued relationship of and between such minor and her parents.
(c) Parental notification required by subsection (a) of this section may be waived by a physician, other than the physician who is to perform the abortion, if such other physician finds that the minor is mature enough to make the abortion decision independently or that notification would not be in the minor's best interest: Provided, That such other physician shall not be associated professionally or financially with the physician proposing to perform the abortion.
(b) Such petition need not be made in any specific form and shall be sufficient if it fairly sets forth the facts and circumstances of the matter, but shall contain the following information:
(i) The age of the petitioner and her educational level;
(ii) The county and state in which she resides;
(iii) A brief statement of petitioner's reason or reasons for the desired waiver of notification of the parent or guardian of such minor petitioner.
No such petition shall be dismissed nor shall any hearing thereon be refused because of any defect in the form of the petition.
(c) Upon the effective date of this article or as soon thereafter as may be, the attorney general shall prepare suggested form petitions and accompanying instructions and shall make the same available to the several clerks of the circuit courts. Such clerks shall see that a sufficient number of such suggested form petitions and instructions are available in the clerk's office for the use of any person desiring to use the same for the purposes of this section.
(d) All proceedings held pursuant to this article shall be confidential and the court shall conduct all such proceedings in camera. The court shall inform the minor petitioner of her right to be represented by counsel and that if she is without the requisite funds to retain the services of an attorney, that the court will appoint an attorney to represent her interest in the matter. If the minor petitioner desires the services of an attorney, an attorney shall be appointed to represent such minor petitioner, if she advises the court under oath or affidavit that she is financially unable to retain counsel. Any attorney appointed to represent such minor petitioner shall be appointed and paid for her services pursuant to the provisions of article twenty-one, chapter twenty-nine of this code: Provided, That the pay to any such attorney pursuant to such appointment shall not exceed the sum of one hundred dollars.
(e) The court shall conduct a hearing upon the petition without delay, but in no event shall the delay exceed the next succeeding judicial day, and the court shall render its decision immediately upon its submission and, in any event, an order reflecting the findings of fact and conclusions of law reached by the court and its judgement shall be endorsed by the judge thereof not later than twenty-four hours following such submission and shall be forthwith entered of record by the clerk of the court. All testimony, documents and other evidence presented to the court, as well as the petition and any orders entered thereon and all records of whatsoever nature and kind relating to the matter shall be sealed by the clerk and shall not be opened to any person except upon order of the court and, then, only upon good cause being shown therefor. A separate order book for the purposes of this article shall be maintained by such clerk and shall likewise be sealed and not open to inspection by any person save upon order of the court for good cause shown.
(f) Notice as required by section three of this article shall be ordered waived by the court if the court finds either:
(1) That the minor petitioner is mature and well informed sufficiently to make the decision to proceed with the abortionindependently and without the notification or involvement of her parent or legal guardian, or
(2) That notification to the person or persons to whom such notification would otherwise be required would not be in the best interest of the minor petitioner.
(g) If or when the circuit court, or the judge thereof, shall refuse to order the waiver of the notification required by section three of this article, a copy of the petition and all orders entered in the matter and all other documents and papers submitted to the circuit court, may be presented to the supreme court of appeals, or to any justice thereof if such court then be in vacation, and such court or justice if deemed proper, may thereupon order the waiver of notification otherwise required by section three of this article. The supreme court of appeals or justice thereof shall hear and decide the matter without delay and shall enter such orders as such court or justice may deem appropriate.
(h) If either the circuit court or the supreme court of appeals, or any judge or justice thereof if either of such courts be then in vacation, shall order a waiver of the notification required by section three of this article, any physician to whom a certified copy of said order shall be presented may proceed to perform the abortion to the same extent as if such physician were in compliance with the provisions of said section three and, notwithstanding the fact that no notification is given to either the parent or legal guardian of any such unemancipated minor, any such physician shall not be subject to the penalty provisions which may be prescribed by this article for such failure of notification.
(i) No filing fees may be required of any minor who avails herself of any of the procedures provided by this section.
(2) Educational level;
(3) Previous pregnancies;
(4) Previous live births;
(5) Previous abortions;
(6) Complications, if any, of the abortion being reported;
(7) Reason for waiver of notification of the minor's parent or guardian, if such notice was waived; and
(8) The city and county in which the abortion was performed.
Any such report shall not contain the name, address or other information by which the minor receiving the abortion may be identified.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
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