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The Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act

Understanding Pennsylvania’s Abortion Law

As Pennsylvanians, it is imperative to understand the restrictions on abortion in our state and the areas in which we can work to further eradicate abortion in PA. The Abortion Control Act, originally passed in 1989, outlines the penal code of abortion in the state of Pennsylvania. 


  • Originally passed in 1989 by Governor Bob Casey, it is PA’s legal guide to abortion.
  • Pro-abortion groups challenged the provisions outlined in the bill. Such provisions include spousal notification, informed consent, and confidential reporting requirements.
  • The original proposal also included restrictions on abortion after six months of pregnancy (only for health and life of the mother) and restrictions on sex-selective abortions.
  • August 1990 – The provisions in the original act were challenged and struck down by a US District Judge , but appealed to the Commonwealth to the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. The ruling eventually reached the Supreme Court.
  • Planned Parenthood vs. Casey – most of the provisions were upheld and the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act went into effect in May of 1994.

For more information please visit: PA Abortion Law

Key Provisions of the PA Abortion Control Act

  • The voluntary and informed consent of the woman – 24 hours prior to the abortion, the physician must orally inform the woman on several points of information including:

nature of procedure/treatment and any risks that may be involved

gestational age of the unborn child

medical risks of carrying a child to term

alternatives to abortion and any medical assistance benefits that may be available


  • Parental Consent – if the mother seeking the abortion is under the age of 18, she must have parental consent from at least one of her parents; the only exception is in the case of a medical emergency. In the case that both parents do not provide consent to the abortion, the court of common pleas in the woman’s judicial district may authorize the abortion is the court determines that the woman is mature and capable of giving informed consent


  • Reporting – a report of each abortion performed must be given to state officials and the report must include the following:

identification of the physician

the county and state of the woman who experienced abortion

the age of the woman

the number of prior pregnancies and abortions of the woman

the gestational age of the unborn child who was aborted

the type of abortion procedure

the date of the abortion