Consent

If the parents consent to an abortion for a minor, is the doctor still at risk?
No. The law permits the medical practitioner to perform the abortion. Rape and incest cases are normally accepted as unequivocal mental health grounds for termination. However, the doctor needs to make a notification of statutory rape to police if this has not yet been done.

Apart from the statutory rape issue, are there other complications in providing an abortion to an underaged girl without her parents’ consent?
Yes. Consent from a guardian is required under law for medical procedures on a minor under age 18. A minor is not legally considered mature enough to make decisions, unless it is an act of necessity to save a life.

Note, however, that the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) recognises that adolescents are capable of making decisions about their lives and that these decisions should be respected. It also recognises their right to privacy. Under the CRC, governments are required to “respect the rights and duties of the parents and, when applicable, legal guardians, to provide direction to the child in the exercise of his or her right in a manner consistent with the evolving capacities of the child.” The CRC, thus, limits the parental role as the adolescent become capable of making independent decisions. A general rule is young people capable of being sexually active without parental control are equally capable of receiving SRH counseling and care without parental control (ARROWs For Change. 2006. “Evolving Capacities of Adolescents“).

If the parents consent to an abortion for a minor, is the doctor still at risk?
No. The law permits the medical practitioner to perform the abortion. Rape and incest cases are normally accepted as unequivocal mental health grounds for termination. However, the doctor needs to make a notification of statutory rape to police if this has not yet been done.

Can a woman get an abortion without her husband’s consent?
Yes. An individual has autonomy over his or her own body. Reproductive freedom, a concept which RRAAM wholly endorses, includes not only a woman’s right to choose childbirth, abortion, sterilisation or birth control, but also her right to make those choices freely, without pressure from individual men, doctors, governmental or religious authorities.

Does a woman need her husband’s consent for abortion, contraception or sterilization?
By law, women do not need their spouse’s permission for an abortion, contraception or sterilization, but some doctors prefer both partners to agree to the procedure after information and counseling. However, in law, any suggestion by the doctor to include the male spouse in counseling is subject to the woman’s consent. Some hospitals may have this as a policy as well. RRAAM can recommend doctors who respect women’s right to autonomy.

If the husband is abusive, does she still need his permission for an abortion?

No. All reproductive issues, including abortion, contraception and sterilization, can be performed over the objection of the spouse. Each person has autonomy over his or her own body.

Reproductive freedom, a concept which RRAAM wholly endorses, includes not only a woman’s right to choose childbirth, abortion, sterilisation or birth control, but also her right to make those choices freely, without pressure from individual men, doctors, governmental or religious authorities.

Can a woman get sterilized (or a bilateral tubal ligation), contraceptives, or a medical (or medication) abortion without her husband’s consent?

Yes. An individual has autonomy over his or her own body. Reproductive freedom, a concept which RRAAM wholly endorses, includes not only a woman’s right to choose childbirth, abortion, sterilisation or birth control, but also her right to make those choices freely, without pressure from individual men, doctors, governmental or religious authorities.



These are questions asked at state seminars held by RRAAM from 2007 thru to the present, primarily for health care providers serving in hospitals and clinics. The answers provided are by RRAAM presenters at these seminars. Some questions were asked only once but they are deemed important enough to be published here. Since laws, policies and guidelines evolve with time and changing social conditions, the answers provided here are necessarily time-bound. Wherever and whenever possible, we will strive to keep these answers accurate and updated. However, we cannot assume liability for the veracity of information provided.