Georgia’s informed consent law: Accurate information about abortion risks and alternatives
The Georgia Legislature passed the Woman’s Right to Know Act in 2005. You can see the law at http://dph.georgia.gov/womens-right-know-wrtk.The law provides that an abortion can only be performed in Georgia after “voluntary and informed consent of the female” at least 24 hours before the abortion except in a medical emergency. If you are thinking about abortion, you have the right to have all your questions answered. This booklet, developed by the Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH), provides basic, medically accurate information about abortion and human development. You will find answers to many of your questions and will also learn about resources that may help you.
When you sign your consent for an abortion, you are saying that the doctor has told you about:
- Your medical risks associated with the chosen abortion procedure
- The probable age of the fetus at the time the abortion is scheduled
- Your medical risks if you decide to carry the pregnancy to term
Your consent also notes your doctor has provided information that:
- You may be eligable for medical coverage of prenatal care, childbirth and newborn care
- Fathers are required to assist in child support
- You have the right to review printed materials in booklet form or online at http://dph.georgia.gov/womens-right-know-wrtk.
The printed materials, prepared by DPH, include:
- Agencies and services that may assist you through pregnancy, childbirth and raising your child
- Adoption agencies and contact information
- A description and pictures of development of the fetus every two weeks during pregnancy
- A statement about fetal pain
- Descriptions of common abortion procedures and their medical risks
- Possible harmful emotional effects following abortion
- Medical risks of pregnancy and childbirth
Pregnancy leads to many questions. Each person and each pregnancy is unique. Your doctor can offer information and answers for your individual situation. This booklet includes pictures and details about development of the fetus throughout pregnancy. Your doctor will tell you how many weeks pregnant you are and the age of the fetus at the scheduled time of the abortion procedure. The doctor will also discuss the medical procedures that might be used and the risks that should be considered, including the risks associated with continuing the pregnancy through childbirth. This booklet also covers some of this information. The doctor will make sure that you know about resources that may be available to you as you are making decisions. You may be eligible for medical coverage if you continue your pregnancy. If you decide to keep your baby, the father must provide child support.
Another source of information is the Resource Directory for Pregnant Women and Their Families. You can find it online at https://dph.georgia.gov/sites/dph.georgia.gov/files/related_files/site_page/ResourceDirectory.pdf or order it free of charge by calling 404-657-2850. Included are agencies and offices that can help you find alternatives to abortion, including services you can use if you decide to make an adoption plan.