DELAWARE.  Delaware Code  

 

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Title 11.  Crimes and Criminal Procedure.

 

Part 1.  Delaware Criminal Code.

 

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Chapter 5.  Specific Offenses

 

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§ 632. Manslaughter; class B felony.

 

A person is guilty of manslaughter when: 

 

(1) The person recklessly causes the death of another person; or 

 

(2) With intent to cause serious physical injury to another person the person causes the death of such person, employing means which would to a reasonable person in the defendant's situation, knowing the facts known to the defendant, seem likely to cause death; or 

 

(3) The person intentionally causes the death of another person under circumstances which do not constitute murder because the person acts under the influence of extreme emotional disturbance; or 

 

(4) The person commits upon a female an abortion which causes her death, unless such abortion is a therapeutic abortion and the death is not the result of reckless conduct; or 

 

(5) The person intentionally causes another person to commit suicide. 

 

Manslaughter is a class B felony. 

 

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§ 651. Abortion; class F felony.   (This provision has been held to be unconstitutional and unenforceable)

 

A person is guilty of abortion when the person commits upon a pregnant female an abortion which causes the miscarriage of the female, unless the abortion is a therapeutic abortion. 

 

Abortion is a class F felony. 

 

 

§ 652. Self-abortion; class A misdemeanor. (This provision has been held to be unconstitutional and unenforceable)

                                                      

A female is guilty of self-abortion when she, being pregnant, commits or submits to an abortion upon herself which causes her abortion, unless the abortion is a therapeutic abortion. 

 

Self-abortion is a class A misdemeanor. 

 

§ 653. Issuing abortional articles; class B misdemeanor.   (This provision has been held to be unconstitutional and unenforceable)

 

A person is guilty of issuing abortional articles when the person manufactures, sells or delivers any instrument, article, medicine, drug or substance with intent that the same be used in committing an abortion upon a female in circumstances which would constitute a crime defined by this Criminal Code. 

 

Issuing abortional articles is a class B misdemeanor. 

 

§ 654. "Abortion" defined.

 

"Abortion" means an act committed upon or with respect to a female, whether by another person or by the female herself, whether directly upon her body or by the administering, taking or prescription of drugs or in any other manner, with intent to cause a miscarriage of such female. 

 

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§ 710. Minors' consent to diagnostic and lawful therapeutic procedures relating to care and treatment for pregnancy or contagious diseases.

        

(a)  A minor 12 years of age or over who professes to be either pregnant or afflicted with contagious, infectious or communicable diseases within the meaning of Chapters 5 and 7 of Title 16, or who professes to be exposed to the chance of becoming pregnant, may give written consent, except to abortion, to any licensed physician, hospital or public clinic for any diagnostic, preventive, lawful therapeutic procedures, medical or surgical care and treatment, including X rays, by any physician licensed for the practice of medicine or surgery or osteopathic medicine or surgery in this State and by any hospital or public clinic, their qualified employees or agents while acting within the scope of their employment. 

 

(b)  Consent so given by a minor 12 years of age or over shall, notwithstanding his or her minority, be valid and legally effective for all purposes, regardless of whether such minor's profession of pregnancy or contagious disease is subsequently medically confirmed, and shall be binding upon such minor, his or her parents, legal guardians, spouse, heirs, executors and administrators as effectively as if the minor were of full legal age at the time of giving of the consent. A minor giving the consent shall be deemed to have the same legal capacity to act and the same legal obligations with regard to giving consent as if the minor were of full legal age. Consent so given shall not be subject to later disaffirmance by reason of such minority; and the consent of no other person or court shall be necessary for the performance of the diagnostic and lawful therapeutic procedures, medical or surgical care and treatment rendered such minor. 

 

(c)  The physician licensed for the practice of medicine or surgery or hospital to whom such consent shall be given may, in the sole exercise of his, her or its discretion, either provide or withhold from the parents or legal guardian or spouse of such minor such information as to diagnosis, therapeutic procedures, care and treatment rendered or to be rendered the minor as such physician, surgeon or hospital deems to be advisable under the circumstances, having primary regard for the interests of the minor.

 

(d)  The parents, legal guardian or spouse of a consenting minor shall not be liable for payment for diagnostic and lawful therapeutic procedures performed, medical or surgical care or treatment rendered or hospital confinement pursuant to this section. 

 

(e)  Notice of intention to perform any operation otherwise permitted under this section shall be given the parents or legal guardian of such minor at their last known address, if available, by telegram sent at time of diagnosis by the surgeon designated to perform such operation; provided, that such operation may proceed forthwith after diagnosis if there is reason to believe that delay would endanger the life of such minor or there is a reasonable probability of irreparable injury. 

 

(f)  Nothing contained in this section shall be construed to relieve any licensed physician, hospital or public clinic, their agents or employees, from liability for their negligence in the diagnosis, care and treatment rendered such minor.

 

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Title 24.  Professions and Occupations.

 

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Chapter 17.  Medical Practices Act

 

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§ 1766.  Penalties.  (These provisions have been held to be unconstitutional and unenforceable.)

 

(a) Whoever practices or attempts to practice medicine, surgery or osteopathy within the State contrary to this chapter, except as in subchapter II of Chapter 27 of Title 16, shall be fined not less than $100 or more than $500 or imprisoned not more than 1 year.

 

(b)  Whoever shall terminate or attempt to terminate or assist in the termination of a human pregnancy otherwise than by birth, except in accordance with subchapter II of Chapter 27 of Title 16, shall be guilty of a felony and shall be fined not more than $5,0000 and imprisoned not less than 2 nor more than 10 years.

 

(c)  The Attorney General of this State or the Attorney General’s deputies shall be charged with the responsibility for enforcement of this chapter.

 

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§ 1780. Short title.

 

This subchapter shall be known and may be cited as the Parental Notice of Abortion Act.

§ 1781. Legislative purpose and findings.

 

(a)  The General Assembly of the State finds as fact that: 

 

(1) Immature minors often lack the ability to make fully informed choices that take into account both immediate and long-range consequences; 

 

(2) The physical, emotional, and psychological consequences of teen pregnancy are serious and can be lasting, particularly when the patient is immature; 

 

(3) The capacity to become pregnant and the capacity for mature judgment concerning how to choose among the alternatives for managing that pregnancy are not necessarily related; 

 

(4) Parents ordinarily possess information essential to enable a physician to exercise the physician's best medical judgment concerning the child; 

 

(5) Parents who are aware that their minor daughter has had an abortion can ensure that she receives adequate medical attention after the abortion; 

 

(6) Parental consultation is usually desirable and in the best interest of their minor children and parents ordinarily act in the best interest of their minor children; and 

 

(7) Parental involvement legislation enacted in other states has been shown to have significant impact in reducing abortion, birth and pregnancy rates among minors. 

 

(b)  It is the intent of the General Assembly of the State in enacting this parental notice provision to further the important and compelling State interests of: 

 

(1) Protecting minors against their own immaturity; 

 

(2) Fostering the family structure and preserving it as a viable social unit; 

 

(3) Protecting the rights of parents to rear children who are members of their household; and 

 

(4) Protecting the health and safety of minor children. 

 

§ 1782. Definitions.

 

For purposes of this subchapter, the following definitions will apply. 

 

(a) "Minor" means a female person under the age of 16. 

 

(b) "Emancipated minor" means any minor female who is or has been married or has, by court order or otherwise, been freed from the care, custody and control of her parents or any other legal guardian. 

 

(c) "Abortion" means the use of any instrument, medicine, drug or any other substance or device to terminate the pregnancy of a woman known to be pregnant, with an intention other than to increase the probability of a live birth, to preserve the life or health of the child after live birth, or to remove a dead fetus. 

 

(d) "Medical emergency" means that condition which, on the basis of the physician or other medically authorized person's good faith clinical judgment, so complicates the medical condition of the pregnant minor as to necessitate the immediate abortion of her pregnancy to avert her death or for which delay will create serious risk of substantial and irreversible impairment of a major bodily function. 

 

(e) "Coercion" means restraining or dominating the choice of a minor female by force, threat of force, or deprivation of food and shelter. 

 

(f) "Licensed mental health professional" means a person licensed under the Division of Professional Regulation of the State as a: 

 

(i) Psychiatrist; 

 

(ii) Psychologist; or 

 

(iii) Licensed professional counselor of mental health. 

 

§ 1783. Notice required.

 

No physician or other medically authorized person shall perform an abortion upon an unemancipated minor until complying with the following notification provisions: 

 

(a) No physician or other medically authorized person shall perform an abortion upon an unemancipated minor unless the physician, medically authorized person, or an agent of the physician or of the medically authorized person has given at least 24 hours actual notice to one or both parents (either custodial or non-custodial), a grandparent, a licensed mental health professional (who shall not be an employee or under contract to an abortion provider except employees or contractors of an acute care hospital) or to the legal guardian of the pregnant minor of the intention to perform the abortion, or unless the physician, medically authorized person, or an agent of the physician or of the medically authorized person has received a written statement or oral communication from another physician or medically authorized person, hereinafter called the "referring physician or medically authorized person," certifying that the referring physician or medically authorized person has given such notice. If the person contacted pursuant to this subsection is not the parent or guardian, the person so contacted must explain to the minor the options available to her include adoption, abortion and full-term pregnancy, and must agree that it is in the best interest of the minor that a waiver of the parental notice requirement be granted. Any licensed mental health professional so contacted shall certify that the professional has performed an assessment of the specific factors and circumstances of the minor subject to the evaluation including but not limited to the age and family circumstances of the minor and the long-term and short-term consequences to the minor of termination or continuation of the pregnancy. 

(ii) Nothing in this section shall affect the obligations of a person pursuant to other provisions of this Code to report instances of child abuse to the appropriate government agencies. 

 

(b) A minor may petition the Family Court ("Court") of any county of this State for a waiver of the notice requirement of this section pursuant to the procedures of § 1784 of this title. A physician who has received a copy of a court order granting a waiver application under § 1784 of this title shall not, at any time, give notice of the minor's abortion to any person without the minor's written permission. 

§ 1784. Application for waiver of parental notice requirement; grounds; timeliness of decision; notice of decision; appeals; costs.

 

(a)  The Court shall consider waiving the notice requirement of § 1783 of this title upon the proper application of a minor. The application shall be in writing, signed by the minor, and verified by her oath or affirmation before a person authorized to perform notarial acts. It shall designate: 

 

(1) The minor's name and residence address; 

 

(2) A mailing address where the Court's order may be sent and a telephone number where messages for the minor may be left; 

 

(3) That the minor is pregnant; 

 

(4) That the minor desires to obtain an abortion; 

 

(5) Each person for whom the notice requirement is sought to be waived; and 

 

(6) The particular facts and circumstances which indicate that the minor is mature and well-informed enough to make the abortion decision on her own and/or that it is in the best interest of the minor that notification pursuant to § 1783 of this title be waived. 

 

(b)  The Court, by a judge, shall grant the written application for a waiver if the facts recited in the application establish that the minor is mature and well-informed enough to make the abortion decision on her own or that it is in the best interest of the minor that notification pursuant to § 1783 of this title be waived. The Court shall presume that married parents not separated and grandparents are complete confidants, such that, on application to waive the notice requirement as to either, grounds to waive the notice requirement as to one parent or grandparent shall constitute grounds to waive the notice requirement as to the spouse thereof. 

 

(c)  If the Court fails to rule within 5 calendar days of the time of the filing of the written application, the application shall be deemed granted; in which case, on the 6th day, the Court shall issue an order stating that the application is deemed granted. 

 

(d)  The Court shall mail 3 copies of any order to the mailing address identified in the application on the day the order issues, shall attempt to notify the minor by telephone on the day the order issues, and if so requested, shall make copies of the order available at Court chambers for the minor. 

 

(e)  An expedited appeal to the Supreme Court shall be available to any minor whose petition is denied by a judge of the Family Court. Notice of intent to appeal shall be given within 2 days of the receipt of actual notice of the denial of the petition. The Supreme Court shall advise the minor that she has a right to court-appointed counsel and shall provide her with such counsel upon request, at no cost to the minor. The Supreme Court shall expedite proceedings to the extent necessary and appropriate under the circumstances. The Supreme Court shall notify the minor of its decision consistent with subsection (d) of this section. 

 

(f)  No court shall assess any fee or cost upon a minor for any proceeding under this section. 

 

(g)  Each court shall provide by rule for the confidentiality of proceedings under this subchapter, but shall continue to initiate investigations into any allegations of past abuse where otherwise appropriate, without disclosing that an application under this subchapter was the source of the information prompting the investigation. 

 

§ 1785. Short form of affidavit and application for waiver of parental notice requirement.

 

The following shall be sufficient form of affidavit and application for waiver of parental notice requirement under this subchapter:

 

IN THE FAMILY COURT OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE

   

IN AND FOR (NAME OF COUNTY) COUNTY

    IN THE MATTER OF:    ) AFFIDAVIT AND     ) APPLICATION FOR

    (NAME OF MINOR APPLICANT),    ) WAIVER OF NOTICE

   

     ) OF

   

     ) ABORTION

    STATE OF DELAWARE   )

   

     ) SS.

   

  ________  COUNTY     )

    BE IT REMEMBERED that on this ________  day of ________ , A.D. ________ before me, (name of person authorized to perform notarial acts), personally appeared (name of minor applicant/affiant) who, being by me duly sworn or affirmed, depose and say:

 

   (1) That the minor applicant resides at (minor's address);

 

   (2) That the Court may send its order to (mailing address designated by applicant minor) and leave telephone messages for the applicant minor at (phone number designated by applicant minor);

 

   (3) That the minor applicant is pregnant;

 

   (4) That the minor applicant desires to obtain an abortion;

 

   (5) That the minor applicant desires that the Court waive the notice requirement of § 1783 of Title 24;

 

   (6) That the minor applicant believes that she is mature and well-informed enough to make the abortion decision on her own and/or it would be in her best interest that a waiver of notice be granted because (state reasons why mature and well-informed enough and/or waiver of notice is in best interest based upon the applicant's age and family circumstances and the long-term and short-term consequences to the applicant of termination or continuation of the pregnancy).

 

 WHEREFORE, this minor applicant intends to submit this affidavit and application for waiver of notice of abortion to the Family Court, and pray that an order be issued waiving the notification requirement of § 1783 of Title 24 as to the following persons: (identify each such person).

 

 ___________________________________________________________________

 

 Minor applicant/affiant

 

 SWORN TO or affirmed and subscribed before me by the minor applicant/affiant this ________  day of ________ , A.D. ________ .

 

 ___________________________________________________________________

 

 (Notary)

 

§ 1786. Coercion prohibited.

 

No parent, guardian, or other person shall coerce a minor to undergo an abortion or to continue a pregnancy. Any minor who is threatened with such coercion may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction for relief. The court shall provide the minor with counsel, give the matter expedited consideration, and grant such relief as may be necessary to prevent such coercion. Should a minor be denied the financial support of her parents or legal guardian by reason of her refusal to undergo abortion or to continue a pregnancy, she shall be considered emancipated for purposes of

 

§ 1787. Medical emergency exception.

 

The requirements of § 1783, § 1784 and § 1786 of this title shall not apply when, in the best medical judgment of the physician or other medically authorized person, based on the facts of the case, a medical emergency exists that so complicates the pregnancy as to require an immediate abortion. 

 

§ 1788. Counseling to affected persons.

 

The Division of Child Mental Health Services, Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, shall offer counseling and support to any minor who is pregnant and is considering filing or has filed an application under this subchapter, if the minor requests such services. Notwithstanding any contrary statute, no notification of the request for or provision of such services to the minor shall be provided to any person, nor shall the consent of any person thereto be required. 

 

§ 1789. Penalty and criminal jurisdiction.

 

(a)  Any person who intentionally performs an abortion with knowledge that, or with reckless disregard as to whether, the person upon whom the abortion has been performed is an unemancipated minor, and who intentionally or knowingly fails to conform to any requirement of this subchapter, shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor. 

 

(b)  The Superior Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction of violations of this section. 

 

§ 1789A. Notice and avoidance of liability.

 

In any prosecution pursuant to § 1789 of this title, the State shall prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the physician (or other medically authorized person) who performed the abortion did not have a good faith belief on that physician's part that actual notice was given by such physician (or other medically authorized person), that physician's agent, or the referring physician or another medically authorized person to a person listed in § 1783(a) of this title as qualified to receive notice. In any civil case, the plaintiff must prove the absence of such a good faith belief by clear and convincing evidence. 

 

§ 1789B. Civil damages available.

 

Failure to give notice pursuant to the requirements of this subchapter is prima facie evidence of interference with family relations in appropriate civil actions. The law of this State shall not be construed to preclude the award of punitive damages in any civil action relevant to violations of this subchapter. Nothing in this subchapter shall be construed to limit the common law rights of parents. 

Subchapter IX. Termination of Human Pregnancy

 

§ 1790. Limitation on termination of human pregnancy; annual report.  (This provision has been held to be unconstitutional and unenforceable)

 

(a)  No person shall terminate or attempt to terminate or assist in the termination or attempt at termination of a human pregnancy otherwise than by birth, except that a physician licensed by this State may terminate a human pregnancy or aid or assist or attempt a termination of a human pregnancy if such procedure takes place in a hospital accredited by a nationally recognized medical or hospital accreditation authority, upon authorization by a hospital abortion review authority appointed by the hospital if 1 or more of the following conditions exist: 

 

(1) Continuation of the pregnancy is likely to result in the death of the mother; 

 

(2) There is substantial risk of the birth of the child with grave and permanent physical deformity or mental retardation; 

 

(3) The pregnancy resulted from: 

 

a. Incest, or 

 

b. A rape or unlawful sexual intercourse in the first or second degree committed as a result of force or bodily harm or threat of force or bodily harm, and the Attorney General of this State has certified to the hospital abortion review authority in writing over the Attorney General's signature that there is probable cause to believe that the alleged rape or unlawful sexual intercourse in the first or second degree did occur, except that during the first 48 hours after the alleged rape or unlawful sexual intercourse in the first or second degree no certification by the Attorney General shall be required; 

 

(4) Continuation of the pregnancy would involve substantial risk of permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the mother. 

 

(b)  In no event shall any physician terminate or attempt to terminate or assist in the termination or attempt at termination of a human pregnancy otherwise than by birth unless: 

 

(1) Not more than 20 weeks of gestation have passed (except in the case of a termination pursuant to subsection (a)(1) of this section or where the fetus is dead); and 

 

(2) Two physicians licensed by this State, 1 of whom may be the physician proposed to perform the abortion, certify to the abortion review authority of the hospital where the procedure is to be performed that they are of the opinion, formed in good faith, that 1 of the circumstances set forth in subsection (a) of this section exists (except that no such certification is necessary for the circumstances set forth in subsection (a)(3)b. of this section); where the personal physician of an expectant mother claims that she has a mental or emotional condition, a psychiatrist licensed by this State shall, in addition to the personal physician, certify to the abortion review authority of the hospital where such procedure is to be performed that the physician is of the opinion, formed in good faith, that 1 of the circumstances set forth in subsection (a) of this section exists (except that no such certification is necessary for the circumstances set forth in subsection (a)(3)b. of this section); and 

 

(3) In the case of an unmarried female under the age of 18 or mentally ill or incompetent, there is filed with the hospital abortion review authority the written consent of the parents or guardians as are then residing in the same household with the consenting female, or, if such consenting female does not reside in the same household with either of her parents or guardians, then with the written consent of 1 of her parents or guardians. 

 

(c)  The hospital abortion review authority of each hospital in which a procedure or procedures are performed pursuant to this section shall, on or before the 1st day of March in each year, file with the Department of Health and Social Services a written report of each such procedure performed pursuant to the authorization of such authority during the preceding calendar year setting forth grounds for each such authorization but not including the names of patients aborted. 

 

§ 1791. Refusal to perform or submit to medical procedures.

 

(a)  No person shall be required to perform or participate in medical procedures which result in the termination of pregnancy; and the refusal of any person to perform or participate in these medical procedures shall not be a basis for civil liability to any person, nor a basis for any disciplinary or other recriminatory action against the person. 

 

(b)  No hospital, hospital director or governing board shall be required to permit the termination of human pregnancies within its institution, and the refusal to permit such procedures shall not be grounds for civil liability to any person, nor a basis for any disciplinary or other recriminatory action against it by the State or any person. 

 

(c)  The refusal of any person to submit to an abortion or to give consent shall not be grounds for loss of any privileges or immunities to which such person would otherwise be entitled, nor shall submission to an abortion or the granting of consent be a condition precedent to the receipt of any public benefits.

 

§1792. Assistance or participation in an unlawful termination of human pregnancy.  (This provision has been held to be unconstitutional and unenforceable)

 

No person shall, unless the termination of a human pregnancy has been authorized pursuant to § 1790 of this title: 

 

(1) Sell or give, or cause to be sold or given, any drug, medicine, preparation, instrument or device for the purpose of causing, inducing or obtaining a termination of such pregnancy; or 

 

(2) Give advice, counsel or information for the purpose of causing, inducing or obtaining a termination of such pregnancy; or 

 

(3) Knowingly assist or cause by any means whatsoever the obtaining or performing of a termination of such pregnancy. 

 

§ 1793. Residency requirements; exceptions.

 

(a)  No person shall be authorized to perform a termination of a human pregnancy within the State upon a female who has not been a resident of this State for a period of at least 120 days next before the performance of an operative procedure for the termination of a human pregnancy. 

 

(b)  This section shall not apply to such female who is gainfully employed in this State at the time of conception, or whose spouse is gainfully employed in this State at the time of conception or to such female who has been a patient, prior to conception, of a physician licensed by this State, or to such female who is attempting to secure the termination of her pregnancy for the condition specified in § 1790(a)(1) of this title. 

 

§ 1794. Consent prior to termination of human pregnancy.  (The waiting period imposed by these provisions has been held to be unconstitutional and unenforceable)

 

(a)  No abortion may be performed unless the woman submitting to the abortion first gives her written consent to the abortion stating that she freely and voluntarily consents to the abortion and that she has received a full explanation of the abortion procedure and effects, including, but not limited to, the following: 

 

(1) The abortion procedure to be utilized. 

 

(2) The probable effects of the abortion procedure on the woman, including the effects on her child-bearing ability and effects on possible future pregnancies. 

 

(3) The facts of fetal development as of the time the proposed abortion is to be performed. 

 

(4) The risks attendant to the procedure. 

 

(5) An explanation of the reasonable alternatives to abortion and of the reasonable alternative procedures or methods of abortion. 

 

(b)  No abortion may be performed on a woman within 24 hours after giving written consent pursuant to subsection (a) of this section unless, in the opinion of her treating physician, an emergency situation presenting substantial danger to the life of the woman exists. 

 

In the event a woman's treating physician determines an abortion is necessary because an emergency situation presenting substantial danger to the life of the woman existed and such woman is unable to give her consent to an abortion, an abortion may be performed on such woman. 

 

§ 1795. Live birth following abortion.

 

(a)  In the event an abortion or an attempted abortion results in the live birth of a child, the person performing or inducing such abortion or attempted abortion and all persons rendering medical care to the child after its birth must exercise that degree of medical skill, care and diligence which would be rendered to a child who is born alive as the result of a natural birth. 

 

(b)  Nothing found in this section shall be deemed to preclude prosecution under any other applicable section of the Delaware Code for knowing or reckless conduct which is detrimental to the life or health of an infant born as a result of a procedure designed to terminate pregnancy.

 

Anyone who knowingly violates this section shall be guilty of a class A misdemeanor. 

 

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Title 16.  Health and Safety.

 

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Part III.  Vital Statistics.

 

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Chapter 31.  Registration of Births, Deaths, Marriages, Divorces, and Annulments.

 

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§ 3133. Reports of induced termination of pregnancy.

 

Each induced termination of pregnancy which occurs in this State, regardless of the length of gestation, shall be reported to the Delaware Health Statistics Center within the Bureau of Health Planning and Resources Management by the person in charge or a designated representative of the institution or abortion facility in which the induced termination of pregnancy was performed. If the induced termination of pregnancy was performed outside an institution or abortion facility, the attending physician shall prepare and file the report. Such reporting shall occur within 30 days after the end of the month in which the induced termination of pregnancy was performed. These reports are to be used only for purposes of statistical analysis and shall not be incorporated into the permanent official records of the system of vital statistics. The reporting form shall include only those items recommended by the federal agency responsible for national vital statistics except that it shall not include any item that allows identification of patients or physicians. Furthermore, no statistical analysis shall be released which identifies the reporting institution or abortion facility. 

 

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Title 29.  State Government.

 

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Part IV.  State Agencies and Offices Not Created by Constitution

 

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Chapter 47.  Medical Examiners.

 

§ 4706. Investigation of deaths.

 

(a)  When any person shall die in this State, as a result of violence, by suicide or by casualty if such occurred not longer than 1 year and 1 day prior to death, while under anesthesia, by abortion or suspected abortion, by poison or suspicion of poison or suddenly when in apparent health or when unattended by a physician or in any prison or penal institution or when in police custody or from a disease resulting from employment including disease related to injury or from an undiagnosed cause which may be related to a disease constituting a threat to public health or in any suspicious or unusual manner or if there is any unclaimed body or if any body is to be cremated, it shall be the duty of the person having knowledge of such death or of the person issuing a permit for cremation under § 3162 of Title 16 immediately to notify the Chief Medical Examiner, an Assistant Medical Examiner or a Deputy Medical Examiner, as the case may be, who in turn shall notify the Attorney General of the known facts concerning the time, place, manner and circumstances of such death.

 

Any person who shall willfully neglect or refuse to report such death or who shall refuse to make available prior medical or other information pertinent to the death investigation or who, without an order from the office of the Chief Medical Examiner, shall willfully touch, remove or disturb the clothing or any article upon or near the body shall upon conviction be subject to imprisonment for not more than 1 year or pay a fine of not more than $1,000, or both. 

 

(b)  Immediately upon receipt of such notification, the Medical Examiner shall take charge of the dead body if either the Medical Examiner or the Attorney General shall deem it necessary. The office of the Chief Medical Examiner shall promptly notify a relative or close acquaintance of the deceased, if known, of such action. 

 

(c)  The Medical Examiner shall fully investigate the essential facts concerning the medical causes of death and may take the names and addresses of as many witnesses as may be practicable to obtain and shall reduce such facts as the Medical Examiner may deem necessary to writing and file the same in the office of the Chief Medical Examiner. 

 

(d)  The Medical Examiner or a duly authorized investigator, in the absence of the next of kin, shall take possession of the personal property found on the deceased and make an exact inventory thereof on the Medical Examiner's report. If necessary an attending police officer may take temporary possession of such property in behalf of the Medical Examiner or an authorized investigator. 

 

(e)  The Medical Examiner shall take possession of any object or articles which, in the Medical Examiner's opinion, may be useful in establishing the identity of the deceased person or the cause of death and deliver them to the Attorney General. The balance of the personal property of the deceased remaining in the possession of the Medical Examiner shall be released to the next of kin of the deceased or the personal representative of the deceased. 

 

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[Public funding for abortion for women eligible for state medical assistance for general health care is prohibited unless: (1) the life of a woman is endangered by a physical disorder, physical injury, or physical illness, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself; (2) the pregnancy is the result of incest reported to the police; or (3) the pregnancy is the result of rape reported to the police unless the physician documents in writing that the adult woman has just cause for not reporting the rape.  2:6 Del. R. 984.  This information is taken from the NARAL Pro-Choice America website. ]