Abortion and Consent

Informed Consent

The medical procedure of abortion is one of the most performed procedures in the United States. Prior to a woman seeking an abortion she should have sufficient information about the procedure. In some states abortion clinics may make the woman wait a period of time prior to performing the procedure. The most common period of time is a 24-hour window between the time that the woman enters the clinic requesting an abortion and the time that the procedure is actually performed.

Some states have laws that require abortion clinics to give the woman information about the procedure and the risks involved. Most abortion clinics provide educational and medical information to the woman prior to performing the abortion.

Spousal Consent

The issue of spousal consent with respect to a woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy in the past was a contested topic. In 1976, the United States Supreme Court found that a state statute requiring a husband’s prior written consent of his wife seeking an abortion was unconstitutional. The Court reasoned that giving the husband the veto power over his wife’s ultimate decision was not proper. The Court further noted that because it is the woman who physically bears the child and who is the more directly and affected by the pregnancy, the decision of whether to terminate her pregnancy should not be conditioned upon her spouse’s consent.

Putative Father Consent

A putative father is a father that is alleged to be the biological of a child. Either the mother may allege that the father is the putative father or the putative father himself may make the allegation. It is unconstitutional for a state to require the consent of the putative father prior to a woman deciding whether the seek an abortion. No state may require the consent of the putative father prior to the performance of an abortion.

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