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Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18 Pa.C.S.A. Crimes and Offenses § 3205. Informed consent

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(a) General rule.--No abortion shall be performed or induced except with 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:

(1) At least 24 hours prior to the abortion, the physician who is to perform the abortion or the referring physician has orally informed the woman of:

(i) The nature of the proposed procedure or treatment and of those risks and alternatives to the procedure or treatment that a reasonable patient would consider material to the decision of whether or not to undergo the abortion.

(ii) The probable gestational age of the unborn child at the time the abortion is to be performed.

(iii) The medical risks associated with carrying her child to term.

(2) At least 24 hours prior to the abortion, the physician who is to perform the abortion or the referring physician, or a qualified physician assistant, health care practitioner, technician or social worker to whom the responsibility has been delegated by either physician, has informed the pregnant woman that:

(i) The department publishes printed materials which describe the unborn child and list agencies which offer alternatives to abortion and that she has a right to review the printed materials and that a copy will be provided to her free of charge if she chooses to review it.

(ii) Medical assistance benefits may be available for prenatal care, childbirth and neonatal care, and that more detailed information on the availability of such assistance is contained in the printed materials published by the department.

(iii) The father of the unborn child is liable to assist in the support of her child, even in instances where he has offered to pay for the abortion.  In the case of rape, this information may be omitted.

(3) A copy of the printed materials has been provided to the pregnant woman if she chooses to view these materials.

(4) The pregnant woman certifies in writing, prior to the abortion, that the information required to be provided under paragraphs (1), (2) and (3) has been provided.

(b) Emergency.--Where a medical emergency compels the performance of an abortion, the physician shall inform the woman, prior to the abortion if possible, of the medical indications supporting his judgment that an abortion is necessary to avert her death or to avert substantial and irreversible impairment of major bodily function.

(c) Penalty.--Any physician who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of “unprofessional conduct” and his license for the practice of medicine and surgery shall be subject to suspension or revocation in accordance with procedures provided under the act of October 5, 1978 (P.L. 1109, No. 261), known as the Osteopathic Medical Practice Act,  1 the act of December 20, 1985 (P.L. 457, No. 112), known as the Medical Practice Act of 1985,  2 or their successor acts. Any physician who performs or induces an abortion without first obtaining the certification required by subsection (a)(4) or with knowledge or reason to know that the informed consent of the woman has not been obtained shall for the first offense be guilty of a summary offense and for each subsequent offense be guilty of a misdemeanor of the third degree.  No physician shall be guilty of violating this section for failure to furnish the information required by subsection (a) if he or she can demonstrate, by a preponderance of the evidence, that he or she reasonably believed that furnishing the information would have resulted in a severely adverse effect on the physical or mental health of the patient.

(d) Limitation on civil liability.--Any physician who complies with the provisions of this section may not be held civilly liable to his patient for failure to obtain informed consent to the abortion within the meaning of that term as defined by the act of October 15, 1975 (P.L.390, No.111), known as the Health Care Services Malpractice Act.  3

1  63 P.S. § 271.1 et seq.
2  63 P.S. § 422.1 et seq.
3  40 P.S. § 1301.101 et seq.

Cite this article: - Pennsylvania Statutes Title 18 Pa.C.S.A. Crimes and Offenses § 3205. Informed consent - last updated January 01, 2019 |

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