A new state law banning abortions for minors without parental or court permission went into effect at midnight on April 22.
Officials at University Health Services (UHS) said yesterday that the law will not affect their policy because UHS does not perform abortions, but only offers counseling before referring patients to local clinics.
"No policy changes will be made here, and patient's confidentiality will be unaffected," Nadja Gould, assitant to the director of UHS, said yesterday, adding that Radcliffe has few students younger than 18 years old.
Minors desiring an abortion must have their parents or legal guardian sign the required form at the clinic or bring the form signed and notarized.
If a minor cannot get parental approval but still wants an abortion, she can petition a Superior Court or go to another state not restricting abortions.
The law does not specify how clinics should verify their patients' ages, but most will accept documents like a driver's license, a passport, or a valid school I.D., Carol Cleven, executive director of the Crittenton Agency, said yesterday.
The Department of Public Health monitors the law, and doctors found guilty of performing illegal abortions will receive a $2000 fine.
Calling the new minimum-age requirement "arbitrary," Dr. Sholem Postel, deputy director of UAS, said yesterday that he would like "the transaction to occur strictly between the doctor and the patient."
Marty Cohn, information directorat New England Women's service, said yesterday that he is "bewildered that legislators consider 17-year-olds mature enough to be a mother, but not mature enough to decids on as acortion."
Cohn called the law "burdensome and repressive" for the approximately 4500 teenagers who are expected to try to obtain an abction this year.