In 2007 Georgia law was amended to modify requirements related to parental notification for unemancipated minors.
Unemancipated minors (which in this context means any female under the age of 18 who is still under the control and supervision of her parents or guardians) seeking an abortion must either be accompanied by a parent or guardian who can show proper identification or a minor’s parent or guardian must be notified in person, by telephone, or by mail at least 24 hours prior to the abortion.
The law requires “actual notice” to the parents or guardians.
If the physician or minor does not want to comply with these parental notification requirements, he or she can contact any juvenile court in the state to have them waived. This is often referred to as a “judicial bypass.” Regardless of whether parental notification occurs, a minor is required to sign a form stating that she consents freely, “and without coercion” to the abortion (Official Code of Georgia Section 15-11-112(a)).
The burden is on the abortion doctor to prove the parents or guardians were notified and the minor signed a consent form.
If the abortion doctor fails to prove “notice and consent”, what remedies are available under Georgia law? Unfortunately, there is no private cause of action (right to sue) against abortion doctors provided for within the statute itself.
In 2011 the Georgia Senate passed a bill that would allow women (and a minor’s parent or legal guardian) to sue an abortion practitioner for violating a similar “notice and consent” statute, the Woman’s Right To Know Act.
Entitled The Women’s Private Right of Action Bill, it would have provided a woman access to financial recovery for illegal abortions. It would have allowed a woman (or a minor’s parent or legal guardian) who has been harmed by an abortion doctor who violates the Woman’s Right To Know Act to be sued for the wrongful death of the aborted child. Unfortunately, Georgia’s House leadership blocked the legislation by refusing to allow it a committee hearing.
So at this time, there is no law in Georgia that allows a woman or the parent of a minor to sue for wrongful death of an aborted child when the abortion doctor fails to prove “notice and consent” but . . . call me anyway. My firm is willing to sue abortion doctors over this issue under the right circumstances. The right case may allow us to use existing laws to hold abortion doctors legally responsible for not complying.
The loss of a child or grandchild is always a terrible tragedy. If you are in that circumstance, my heart goes out to you. It would be my privilege to talk with you about what legal options you may have to call the abortion doctor to account.
Attorney Pete Pearson may lose some business by saying it, but he is passionately pro-life. His passion and experience helping families of children who have been harmed make him especially well-suited to help your family in your time of need. Attorney Pearson lives in Atlanta, Georgia with his wife and six children (all still at home). You can speak to him directly at Six-Seven-Eight 358-2564.