90-21.8. Procedure for waiver of parental consent.

(a) The requirements and procedures under Part 2 of this Article are available and apply to unemancipated minors seeking treatment in this State.

(b) The court shall ensure that the minor or her guardian ad litem is given assistance in preparing and filing the petition and shall ensure that the minor's identity is kept confidential.

(c) The minor may participate in proceedings in the court on her own behalf or through a guardian ad litem. The court shall advise her that she has a right to appointed counsel, and counsel shall be provided upon her request in accordance with rules adopted by the Office of Indigent Defense Services.

(d) Court proceedings under this section shall be confidential and shall be given precedence over other pending matters necessary to ensure that the court may reach a decision promptly. In no case shall the court fail to rule within seven days of the time of filing the application. This time limitation may be extended at the request of the minor. At the hearing, the court shall hear evidence relating to the emotional development, maturity, intellect, and understanding of the minor; the nature, possible consequences, and alternatives to the abortion; and any other evidence that the court may find useful in determining whether the parental consent requirement shall be waived.

(e) The parental consent requirement shall be waived if the court finds:

(1) That the minor is mature and well-informed enough to make the abortion decision on her own; or

(2) That it would be in the minor's best interests that parental consent not be required; or

(3) That the minor is a victim of rape or of felonious incest under G.S. 14-178.

(f) The court shall make written findings of fact and conclusions of law supporting its decision and shall order that a confidential record of the evidence be maintained. If the court finds that the minor has been a victim of incest, whether felonious or misdemeanor, it shall advise the Director of the Department of Social Services of its findings for further action pursuant to Article 3 of Chapter 7B of the General Statutes.

(g) If the female petitioner so requests in her petition, no summons or other notice may be served upon the parents, guardian, or custodian of the minor female.

(h) The minor may appeal an order issued in accordance with this section. The appeal shall be a de novo hearing in superior court. The notice of appeal shall be filed within 24 hours from the date of issuance of the district court order. The de novo hearing may be held out of district and out of session and shall be held as soon as possible within seven days of the filing of the notice of appeal. The record of the de novo hearing is a confidential record and shall not be open for general public inspection. The Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court shall adopt rules necessary to implement this subsection.

(i) No court costs shall be required of any minor who avails herself of the procedures provided by this section. (1995, c. 462, s. 1; 1998-202, s. 13(u); 2000-144, s. 35.)