There are plenty of things a woman should be informed of when she is deciding whether to get an abortion. You’ve got a lot on your mind, but be sure to consider the legal aspects of abortion.

The truth is that abortion laws continually change. Although Roe v. Wade made first-trimester abortion legal nationwide, each state has the right to apply its own laws to the abortion process as long as those laws don’t place an undue burden on women seeking an abortion. Laws vary, but in general there are four that may affect where you live.

1. NOTIFICATION

The application of notification depends on whether you’re married or a minor. In some states, a married woman must notify her husband if she intends to terminate a pregnancy. Many states have struck down this law, saying it places an undue burden on women. In nearly all 50 states, however, minors must notify at least one parent before they can receive abortion services. This law goes hand-in-hand with consent.

2. CONSENT

Notifying your parents that you’re pregnant isn’t always enough for a minor. Many states also require parental permission. Realizing that this can be an undue burden for some, states have written in what’s called a judicial bypass. A minor can appear before a judge who will determine if she is mature enough to make an informed decision regarding abortion. If so, the judge will provide consent and waive the notification requirement.

3. INFORMED CONSENT

This law is quite different from consent. Informed consent laws require that the patient be aware of all the risks, possible outcomes, etc. before having an abortion. A physician or other qualified person usually conducts these consultations. States often require consultations be done in person, but some allow phone consultation if distance is a problem. A woman usually will sign a release stating that she has been informed of the procedure and risks and consents to the abortion.

This is where pre-abortion counseling is critical. You will be told exactly what to expect physically and emotionally and will understand possible complications or risks and their likelihood.

4. THE 24-HOUR RULE

Time can be a factor in getting an abortion, and you might feel rushed to make a decision without getting the chance to really think things through. That’s why some states have a 24-hour waiting period from the time you call to make an appointment to the time you can have the procedure. This rule applies to minors and adults. The waiting period is a great time to seek counseling if you haven’t already done so and gives you a chance to think about all your alternatives before you make the final choice.

GET HELP

Each state’s laws vary. A counselor can guide you through the law so you can rest assured that you’ve got everything covered. You’ve already got so much on your mind. Get help to understand the laws regarding choices.