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§16-2F-4. Process to obtain waiver of notification.

(a) An unemancipated minor who objects to the notice being given to her parent or legal guardian may petition for a waiver of the notice to the circuit court of the county in which the unemancipated minor resides or in which the abortion is to be performed, or to the judge of either of such courts.

(b) The petition need not be made in any specific form and shall be sufficient if it fairly sets forth the facts and circumstances of the matter, but shall contain the following information:

(i) The age of the unemancipated minor and her educational level;

(ii) The county and state in which she resides; and

(iii) A brief statement of unemancipated minor’s reason or reasons for the desired waiver of notification of the parent or guardian of such unemancipated minor.

No such petition shall be dismissed nor shall any hearing thereon be refused because of any defect in the form of the petition.

(c) The Attorney General shall prepare suggested form petitions and accompanying instructions and shall make the same available to the clerks of the circuit courts. The clerks shall make the form petitions and instructions available in the clerks office.

(d) The proceedings held pursuant to this article shall be confidential and the court shall conduct the proceedings in camera. The court shall inform the unemancipated minor of her right to be represented by counsel. If the unemancipated minor is without the requisite funds to retain the services of an attorney, the court will appoint an attorney to represent the unemancipated minor’s interest in the matter. If the unemancipated minor desires the services of an attorney, an attorney shall be appointed to represent the unemancipated minor, if the unemancipated minor advises the court under oath or affidavit that the unemancipated minor is financially unable to retain counsel. An attorney appointed to represent the unemancipated minor shall be appointed and paid for his services pursuant to the provisions of article twenty-one, chapter twenty-nine of this code. The pay shall not exceed the sum of $100.

(e) The court shall conduct a hearing upon the petition without delay, but may not exceed the next succeeding judicial day. The court shall render its decision immediately upon its submission and, its written order not later than twenty-four hours and entered in the record by the clerk of the court. All testimony, documents, evidence, petition, orders entered thereon and all records relating to the matter shall be sealed by the clerk and shall not be opened to any person except upon order of the court upon a showing of good cause. A separate order book for the purposes of this article shall be maintained by the clerk and shall be sealed and not open to inspection by any person save upon order of the court for good cause shown.

(f) Notice as required by section three of this article shall be ordered waived by the court if the court finds either:

(1) That the unemaciated minor is mature and well informed sufficiently to make the decision to proceed with the abortion independently and without the notification or involvement of her parent or legal guardian; or

(2) That notification to the person or persons to whom notification would otherwise be required would not be in the best interest of the unemancipated minor.

 (g) A confidential appeal shall be available to any unemancipated minor to whom a court denies an order authorizing an abortion without notification. An order authorizing an abortion without notification may not be appealed. Access to the trial court and the Supreme Court of Appeals shall be given to an unemancipated minor.

(h) Filing fees are not required of any unemancipated minor who avails herself of any of the procedures provided by this section.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2017 Regular Session
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