2003 Regular Session
To: Public Health and Welfare
By: Representative Fillingane, Cameron, Chism, Davis, Ellington, Formby, Howell, Ishee, Janus, Ketchings, Lott, Martinson, Montgomery (74th), Moore (60th), Reeves, Roberson, Robinson (84th), Snowden, Wells-Smith
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 41-41-55, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT MINORS WHO SEEK TO WAIVE THE PARENTAL CONSENT REQUIREMENT FOR AN ABORTION MAY NOT OBTAIN THE ABORTION UNTIL THE COURT GRANTS A WAIVER OF THE CONSENT REQUIREMENT; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 41-41-55, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
41-41-55. (1) The requirements and procedures under Sections 41-41-51 through 41-41-63 shall apply and are available to minors whether or not they are residents of this state.
(2) The minor may participate in proceedings in the court on her own behalf. The court shall advise her that she has a right to court-appointed counsel and shall provide her with such counsel upon her request or if she is not already adequately represented.
(3) Court proceedings under this section shall be confidential and anonymous and shall be given such precedence over other pending matters as is necessary to insure that the court may reach a decision promptly, but in no case shall the court fail to rule within seventy-two (72) hours of the time the application is filed. If for any reason the court fails to rule on the minor's application, the minor may not obtain the abortion. The court must grant a waiver of the consent requirement of Section 41-41-53 before the minor may obtain an abortion.
(4) Consent shall be waived if the court finds either:
(a) That the minor is mature and well-informed enough to make the abortion decision on her own; or
(b) That performance of the abortion would be in the best interests of the minor.
(5) A court that conducts proceedings under this section shall issue written and specific factual findings and legal conclusions supporting its decision and shall order that a confidential record of the evidence be maintained.
(6) An expedited confidential and anonymous appeal shall be available to any minor to whom the court denies a waiver of consent. The Mississippi Supreme Court shall issue promptly such rules and regulations as are necessary to insure that proceedings under Sections 41-41-51 through 41-41-63 are handled in an expeditious, confidential and anonymous manner.
(7) No filing fees shall be required of any minor who avails herself of the procedures provided by this section.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2003.