What is Abortion?
"Abortion" or "induced abortion" means the act of using or prescribing any instrument, medicine, drug, or any other substance, device, or means with the intent to terminate the clinically diagnosable pregnancy of a woman with knowledge that the termination by those means will, with reasonable likelihood, cause the death of the unborn child. Such use, prescription, or means is not an abortion if done with the intent to: Remove a dead unborn child caused by or induce delivery of the uterine contents in case of a positive diagnosis, certified in writing in the woman's medical record along with the results of an obstetric ultrasound test, that the pregnancy has ended or is in the unavoidable and untreatable process of ending due to spontaneous miscarriage, also known in medical terminology as spontaneous abortion, missed abortion, or inevitable abortion, incomplete abortion, or septic abortion.
The decision to abort "is an important, and often a stressful one, and it is desirable and imperative that it be made with full knowledge of its nature and consequences", Planned Parenthood v. Danforth.
"The medical, emotional, and psychological consequences of an abortion are serious and can be lasting...", H. L. v. Matheson.
A Woman's Right to Know
- Ensure that every woman considering an abortion receive complete information on her alternatives and that every woman submitting to an abortion do so only after giving her voluntary and informed consent to the abortion procedure.
- Protect unborn children from a woman's uninformed decision to have an abortion.
Reduce "the risk that a woman may elect an abortion only to discover later, with devastating psychological consequences, that her decision was not fully informed", Planned Parenthood v. Casey.
- Ensure that every woman considering an abortion receive complete information regarding the availability of anesthesia or analgesics that would eliminate or alleviate organic pain to the unborn child that could be caused by the particular method of abortion to be employed.
- Informed consent; requirements. After a woman is determined to be pregnant, no abortion shall be performed or induced without the voluntary and informed consent of the woman upon whom the abortion is to be performed or induced. Except in the case of a medical emergency, consent to an abortion is voluntary and informed if and only if certain conditions are met.
Facts About Abortions
- Louisiana law requires your doctor to tell you about the nature of the physical and emotional risks of both the abortion procedure and carrying a child to term.
- The doctor must tell you how long you have been pregnant and must give you a chance to ask questions and discuss your decision carefully and privately.
- It is unlawful for any individual to coerce you to undergo an abortion. Any physician who performs an abortion upon you without obtaining your informed consent or without affording you a private medical consultation may be liable to you for damages in a civil action at law.
- You are not required to pay any amount for the abortion procedure until the 24-hour period has expired.
- The father of your child is liable to assist in the support of that child, even in instances where the father has offered to pay for an abortion. The law permits adoptive parents to pay costs of prenatal care, childbirth and neonatal care.
- "There are many public and private agencies willing and able to help you to carry your child to term.
- They also will assist you and your child after your child's birth, whether you choose to keep your child or to place him or her up for adoption.
- The State of Louisiana strongly urges you to contact them before making a final decision about abortion. The law requires that your physician or his agent give you the opportunity to call agencies like these before you undergo an abortion.
- The father of a child has a legal duty to provide for the support, educational, medical and other needs of that child. That duty can include child support payments to the child's mother.
- A child has rights of inheritance from his or her father and may be eligible through him for benefits such as life insurance, Social Security, pension, veteran's or disability benefits. Further, the child will be aware of his or her medical history. Paternity can be established in either of two ways:
- The father can acknowledge the child by signing the birth certificate and a written declaration before a notary public and two witnesses; or an action can be brought in court.
Information and Resources
More information concerning paternity establishment and child support may be obtained from the regional office of the State Department of Social Services, Office of Family Support, Division of Support Services, which serves your parish. Other information may be obtained from your parish district attorney's office. Telephone numbers for both offices may be found in the accompanying directory.
- Abortion: Making a Decision Booklet
- Act 411: R.S. 40:1299.35