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Mass. General Laws c.112 § 12R

Consent to abortion; form; persons less than 16 years of age

This is an unofficial version of a Massachusetts General Law. For more information on this topic, please see law about abortion.

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Updates

Amended by St.2020, c.263, effective December 29, 2020.

 

Section 12R

An abortion shall not be performed without first obtaining the written informed consent of the patient seeking an abortion. The commissioner of public health shall prescribe a form to use in obtaining such consent. A patient seeking an abortion shall sign the consent form in advance of the time for which the abortion is scheduled, except in an emergency requiring immediate action; provided, however, that this requirement shall not impose any waiting period between the signing of the consent form and the patient obtaining the abortion. The patient shall then return it to the physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner or nurse midwife performing the abortion who shall maintain it in their files and who shall destroy it 7 years after the date upon which the abortion is performed.

The consent form and any other forms, transcript of evidence or written findings or conclusions of a court shall be confidential and shall not be released to any other person except by the patient’s written informed consent or by a proper judicial order, other than to the patient themselves, to whom such documents relate, the physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner or nurse midwife who performed the abortion or any person whose consent is obtained pursuant to this section or under any other applicable state or federal law. If a patient is less than 16 years of age and has not married, an abortion shall not be performed unless the physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner or nurse midwife first obtains both the consent of the patient and that of 1 of the patient’s parents or guardians, except as hereinafter provided. In deciding whether to grant such consent, a patient’s parent or guardian shall consider only the patient’s best interests. If a patient less than 16 years of age has not married and if the patient is unable to obtain the consent of 1 of their parents or 1 of their guardians to the performance of an abortion, or if they elect not to seek the consent of a parent or a guardian, or in the case of incest, a judge of the superior court department of the trial court of the commonwealth shall, upon petition or motion, and after an appropriate hearing held in person or via teleconference at the patient’s option, authorize a physician, physician assistant, nurse practitioner or nurse midwife to perform the abortion if the judge determines that the patient is mature and capable of giving informed consent to the procedure or, if the judge determines that the patient is not mature, that performance of an abortion would be in the patient’s best interests. A patient less than 16 years of age may participate in proceedings in the superior court department of the trial court on their own behalf and the court may appoint a guardian ad litem for the patient. The court shall, however, advise the patient that they have a right to court appointed counsel and shall, upon the patient’s request, provide the patient with such appointed counsel. Proceedings in the superior court department of the trial court under this section shall be confidential and shall be given such precedence over other pending matters that the court may reach a decision promptly and without delay so as to serve the best interests of the patient. The chief justice of the superior court department of the trial court shall establish procedures for conducting proceedings under this section promptly and without delay including, but not limited to, procedures to accommodate the patient outside of normal court hours. A judge of the superior court department of the trial court who conducts proceedings under this section shall make in writing specific factual findings and legal conclusions supporting their decision and shall order a record of the evidence to be maintained including the findings and conclusions. Exclusive jurisdiction over appeals of a denial by the superior court of authorization for a patient to obtain an abortion is hereby conferred on the supreme judicial court or a single justice thereof. Notwithstanding section 12F, a patient may provide consent and consent shall be granted under subparagraphs (ii) to (vi), inclusive, of said section 12F for abortion if the minor is not less than 16 years of age.

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Last updated: December 31, 2020
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