2015 Arkansas Code
Title 20 - Public Health And Welfare
Subtitle 2 - Health And Safety
Chapter 16 - Reproductive Health
Subchapter 8-2 - Abortion -- Parental Involvement Enhancement Act [Effective January 1, 2016]
§ 20-16-809 - Judicial relief from requirement. [Effective January 1, 2016.]

AR Code § 20-16-809 (2015) What's This?

(a) The requirements and procedures of this subchapter are available to a pregnant woman regardless of whether the woman is a resident of the state.

(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of §§ 20-16-803 -- 20-16-806, if a pregnant minor or incompetent woman does not wish to obtain the consent of one (1) or both parents or the guardian or custodian, then:

(1) (A) The pregnant woman may petition a circuit court for a waiver of the consent requirement and may participate in the proceedings on her own behalf.

(B) However, the court shall advise the pregnant woman that she has a right to a court-appointed counsel and, upon her request, shall provide her with such counsel.

(C) The court may appoint a guardian ad litem for the pregnant woman.

(D) A guardian ad litem appointed under this subchapter shall act to maintain the confidentiality of the proceedings;

(2) (A) When the petitioner is a minor, the petition shall include a statement that the minor is pregnant and unempancipated.

(B) The petition shall include a statement that consent has not been waived and that the pregnant woman wishes to abort the fetus without obtaining consent under this subchapter;

(3) The pregnant woman shall have the right to file her petition in the circuit court using a pseudonym or using solely her initials;

(4) (A) The court proceedings under this section shall be confidential and shall ensure the anonymity of the minor or incompetent woman.

(B) All court proceedings under this section shall be sealed and all documents related to the petition shall be confidential and shall not be available to the public;

(5) These proceedings shall be given precedence over other pending matters to the extent necessary to ensure that the court reaches a decision promptly and without delay as to serve the best interests of the pregnant minor or incompetent woman;

(6) The judge shall make in writing specific factual findings and legal conclusions supporting the decision and shall order a record of the evidence to be maintained, including the findings and conclusions of the judge;

(7) (A) An expedited confidential appeal shall be available to any pregnant minor or incompetent woman for whom the court denies an order authorizing an abortion without consent.

(B) An order authorizing an abortion without consent shall not be subject to appeal; and

(8) A filing fee shall not be required of any pregnant minor or incompetent woman at either the trial or the appellate level.

(c) (1) (A) If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the pregnant woman is both sufficiently mature and well-informed to decide whether to have an abortion, the court shall:

(i) Issue an order authorizing the pregnant woman to consent to the performance or inducement of an abortion without the consent of a parent or legal guardian; and

(ii) Execute the required forms.

(B) If the court does not make the findings specified in subdivision (c)(1) or (2) of this section, the court shall dismiss the petition.

(2) (A) If the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the pregnant woman is the victim of physical or sexual abuse by one (1) or both of her parents or her legal guardian or that obtaining the consent of a parent or legal guardian is not in the best interest of the pregnant woman, the court shall issue an order authorizing the pregnant woman to consent to the performance or inducement of an abortion without the consent of a parent or guardian.

(B) If the court does not make the findings specified in subdivision (c)(1) or (2) of this section, the court shall dismiss the petition.

(3) The attending physician shall report any abuse as provided in the Child Maltreatment Act, § 12-18-101 et seq.

(d) (1) If the pregnant woman claims to be mature and well-informed at a proceeding held under this subchapter, the pregnant woman shall prove by clear and convincing evidence that she is sufficiently mature and capable of giving informed consent without obtaining consent from or giving notice to her parent or legal guardian based on her experience level, perspective, and judgment.

(2) In assessing the pregnant woman's experience level, the court may consider the following relevant factors:

(A) The age of the pregnant woman;

(B) The pregnant woman's experiences working outside the home;

(C) The pregnant woman's experiences living away from home;

(D) The pregnant woman's experiences traveling on her own;

(E) The pregnant woman's experiences handling personal finances;

(F) The pregnant woman's experiences making other significant decisions; and

(G) Other relevant factors as appropriate.

(3) In assessing the pregnant woman's perspective, the court may consider the following relevant factors:

(A) The steps that the pregnant woman took to explore her options;

(B) To what extent she considered and weighed the potential consequences of each option; and

(C) Other relevant factors as appropriate.

(4) In assessing the pregnant woman's judgment, the court may consider among other relevant factors the pregnant woman's conduct since learning of her pregnancy and her intellectual ability to understand her options and to make an informed decision.

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