In Georgia, women considering abortion must hear a specific list of information from a physician or the physician’s qualified agent (such as a patient educator) at least 24 hours before having an abortion procedure. This information, called the “Women’s Right to Know Act”, can be provided by telephone. This means that by law, patients must call at least 24 hours in advance to schedule an appointment. This information is also available on the state of Georgia’s website.
If a patient is under 18, she must call to set up the appointment with a lawful parent or legal guardian. The lawful parent or legal guardian will also need to accompany the patient on the procedure day to give consent and complete paperwork. The parent or guardian must present proof of custody. Valid proof of custody could be a birth certificate, adoption papers, or custody papers. The parent or guardian must also present government issued photo identification such as a driver’s license, non-driver’s state identification card, or passport. For women who cannot involve a parent, or choose not to, the law allows for a judicial bypass. This means that a judge may decide that the patient is mature enough to complete the process herself, without parental consent. Atlanta Women’s Center phone counselors are trained to help patients through this process, and can explain the necessary steps that will need to be taken if a minor decides that judicial bypass is her best option.
Finally, in 2007 the Woman’s Right To Know Act was amended to require that for all cases in which an ultrasound is performed prior to conducting an abortion or a pre-abortion screen, the woman must be offered to view the ultrasound and listen to the fetal heart rate. Although patients are not required to view or to listen, AWC must offer this to patients and patients must sign a consent indicating whether or not they declined or accepted to view the ultrasound or listen to the heart beat.