2014 Tennessee Code
Title 39 - Criminal Offenses
Chapter 15 - Offenses Against the Family
Part 2 - Abortion
§ 39-15-202 - Consent of pregnant woman required prior to abortion -- Information provided by doctor -- Waiting period -- Penalty for violation -- Requirements inapplicable in certain cases.

TN Code § 39-15-202 (2014) What's This?

(a) (1) An abortion otherwise permitted by law shall be performed or induced only with the informed written consent of the pregnant woman, given freely and without coercion. Such consent shall be treated as confidential.

(2) (A) Any private physician's office, ambulatory surgical treatment center or other facility or clinic in which abortions, other than abortions necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant female, are performed shall conspicuously post a sign in a location defined in subdivision (a)(2)(C) so as to be clearly visible to patients, which reads:

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Notice: It is against the law for anyone, regardless of the person's relationship to you, to coerce you into having or to force you to have an abortion. By law, we cannot perform an abortion on you unless we have your freely given and voluntary consent. It is against the law to perform an abortion on you against your will. You have the right to contact any local or state law enforcement agency to receive protection from any actual or threatened criminal offense to coerce an abortion.

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(B) The sign required pursuant to subdivision (a)(2)(A) shall be printed in languages appropriate for the majority of clients of the facility with lettering that is legible and that is Arial font, at least 40-point bold-faced type.

(C) A facility in which abortions are performed that is a private physician's office or an ambulatory surgical treatment center shall post the required sign in each patient waiting room and patient consultation room used by patients on whom abortions are performed. A hospital or any other facility in which abortions are performed that is not a private physician's office or ambulatory surgical treatment center shall post the required sign in the admissions or registration department used by patients on whom abortions are performed.

(3) (A) An ambulatory surgical treatment center or other licensed facility shall be assessed a civil penalty by the board for licensing health care facilities of two thousand five hundred dollars ($2,500) for each day of violation in which:

(i) The sign required in subdivision (a)(2)(A) was not posted during business hours when patients or prospective patients are present; and

(ii) An abortion other than an abortion necessary to prevent the death of the pregnant female was performed in the ambulatory surgical treatment center or other licensed facility.

(B) A licensed physician shall be assessed a civil penalty by the physician's title 63 medical licensing board of one thousand dollars ($1,000) for each day of violation in which:

(i) The sign required in subdivision (a)(2)(A) was not posted during business hours when patients or prospective patients are present at the private physician's office or clinic; and

(ii) The physician performed an abortion in the private physician's office.

(4) The penalty provided for in subdivision (a)(3) is in addition to any other remedies applicable under other law, and subdivision (a)(3) does not preclude prosecution and conviction under any applicable criminal law.

(b) In order to ensure that a consent for an abortion is truly informed consent, an abortion shall be performed or induced upon a pregnant woman only after she has been orally informed by her attending physician of the following facts and has signed a consent form acknowledging that she has been informed as follows:

(1) That according to the best judgment of her attending physician she is pregnant;

(2) The number of weeks elapsed from the probable time of the conception of her unborn child, based upon the information provided by her as to the time of her last menstrual period or after a history, physical examination, and appropriate laboratory tests;

(3) That if more than twenty-four (24) weeks have elapsed from the time of conception, her child may be viable, that is, capable of surviving outside of the womb, and that if the child is prematurely born alive in the course of an abortion her attending physician has a legal obligation to take steps to preserve the life and health of the child;

(4) That abortion in a considerable number of cases constitutes a major surgical procedure;

(5) That numerous public and private agencies and services are available to assist her during her pregnancy and after the birth of her child, if she chooses not to have the abortion, whether she wishes to keep her child or place the child for adoption, and that her physician will provide her with a list of the agencies and the services available if she so requests; or

(6) Numerous benefits and risks are attendant either to continued pregnancy and childbirth or to abortion depending upon the circumstances in which the patient might find herself. The physician shall explain these benefits and risks to the best of the physician's ability and knowledge of the circumstances involved.

(c) At the same time the attending physician provides the information required by subsection (b), the physician shall inform the pregnant woman of the particular risks associated with her pregnancy and childbirth and the abortion or child delivery technique to be employed, including providing her with at least a general description of the medical instructions to be followed subsequent to the abortion or childbirth in order to ensure her safe recovery.

(d) (1) There shall be a two-day waiting period after the physician provides the required information, excluding the day on which the information was given. On the third day following the day the information was given, the patient may return to the physician and sign a consent form.

(2) A violation of this subsection (d) by a physician is a Class E felony.

(3) This subsection (d) shall not apply when the attending physician, utilizing experience, judgment or professional competence, determines that a two-day waiting period or any waiting period would endanger the life of the pregnant woman. The determination made by the attending physician shall be in writing and shall state the physician's medical reasons upon which the physician bases the opinion that the waiting period would endanger the life of the pregnant woman. This provision shall not relieve the attending physician of the duty to the pregnant woman to inform her of the facts under subsection (b).

(e) The attending physician performing or inducing the abortion shall provide the pregnant woman with a duplicate copy of the consent form signed by her.

(f) "The physician" or "the attending physician," as used in this section, means any licensed physician on the service treating the pregnant woman.

(g) The provisions of this section shall not apply in those situations where an abortion is certified by a licensed physician as necessary to preserve the life of the pregnant woman.

(h) (1) A physician may not perform an abortion unless the physician has admitting privileges at a hospital licensed under title 68 that is located:

(A) In the county in which the abortion is performed; or

(B) In a county adjacent to the county in which the abortion is performed.

(2) The physician who performs an abortion or a health care provider licensed pursuant to title 63 under the supervision of the physician shall notify the patient of the location of the hospital at which the physician has privileges and where the patient may receive follow-up care by the physician if complications arise.

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