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Pennsylvania Abortion Laws

Code Section
Tit. 18§§3201 to 3220

Statutory Definition of Illegal Abortion
(1) Failure to obtain informed consent of woman; (2) failure to meet standards for legal abortion; (3) using any means to cause the death of an unborn child but not meaning use of intrauterine device or the birth control pill; (4) solely for the reason of the child’s sex; (5) without making diagnosis of gestational age; (6) use of public funds, facilities, or officials

Statutory Definition of Legal Abortion
M.D. must find, in his clinical judgement, that abortion must be necessary or that a “referring M.D.” has sent a written signed statement saying so; after viability, 24 wks., necessary to preserve life of mother or prevent serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of bodily function. Viability defined as when M.D., based on facts of particular case, finds reasonable likelihood of fetus’ sustained survival outside the mother’s body.

Failing to adequately care for viable fetus, M.D. violating medical consultation provisions, finding abortion necessary, violation of 2nd M.D. requirement: Felony in 3rd degree and license may be revoked; person inducing abortion in violation of consent standards: 1st offense: summary offense; 2nd and subsequent offenses: 3rd degree misdemeanor; violation of informed consent or spousal notification provisions (spousal consent found unconstitutional in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania v. Casey, but remain in Pennsylvania’s statue nontheless): guilty of “unprofessional conduct” and license may be revoked; violation of gestational age determination requirement: 3 mos. suspension of license and if falsification of records, misdemeanor in the 3rd degree

Except for medical emergency, physician must give information to mother at least 24 hours before abortion; if mother under 18 years and not emancipated, both mother’s and one parent/guardian’s informed consent required—court may authorize M.D. to perform abortion. If the woman is married, she must provide signed statement that she has notified her spouse of the abortion (Spousal consent found unconstitutional in Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania V. Casey, but remain in PA’s statute nonetheless)


Licensed M.D., licensed hospital or facility (hospital after 24 wks. with 2nd M.D. to aid fetus

Inside Pennsylvania Abortion Laws