Abortion Rights of Minors

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Most Common Family Law Issues:

Can I Have an Abortion If I Am a Minor?

If you are a pregnant minor considering abortion, there important options for you to consider with regards to your ability to obtain the procedure with or without notifying your parents.

There are three basic requirements about notifying your parents:

  1. The minor must at least inform one of their parents about the intention of getting an abortion
  2. Some states require one parent to give informed consent allowing the abortion
  3. If no parent consent, then minor may be able to get a judicial bypass from the court

In some states, a minor is excused from involving a parent and without going to a judge if the minor is a victim of abuse or neglect and the minor or the minor's doctor reports this to proper authorities. If the minor is facing a medical emergency and requires an immediate abortion, some states allow an abortion without permission.

Can I Have an Abortion without My Parents' Consent?

The answer to this varies from state to state. Few states, including California, allow minors (people under 18) to obtain an abortion without parental consent or notification. However, most states require parental consent, notification or permission from a judge (known as a "judicial bypass").

You can go to another state where you do not live to get an abortion, but due to laws about minors crossing state lines, you might want to consider traveling with an older sibling, grandparent, or other family member.

How Can I Get a Judicial Bypass?

To obtain a judicial bypass, the minor must file an application with a state court. The judge will consider a variety of factors including:

Has the minor given informed consent to an abortion

The court must hear the case within a short time, usually three or four days. If the petition is denied, you have the right to appeal. The court must then reconsider your petition within a short time as well.

Can My Parents Force Me to Have an Abortion?

Minor females have a constitutional right to make their own decisions on reproductive choices. The constitution gives women the right to choose whether they want an abortion and this also applies to women minors. The decision is hers alone and no parent can force the teen to have an abortion. The decision to have an abortion must be voluntary and independent. A parent who tries to coerce a daughter to have an abortion may also face legal charges for child abuse or battery.

Parents of pregnant teenagers cannot force them into placing a child up for adoption. The only exception to this rule is if the pregnant teen's life is in danger due to a medical emergency. In such a case, the teen's parents have the right to permit an abortion against the teenager's wishes.

What Is I Cannot Afford an Abortion?

The cost of abortion depends on the stage of pregnancy and which trimester the minor is in. If a minor cannot afford an abortion, the minor may be able to get governmental assistance to cover the cost. Many insurance plans also cover abortions as a medical necessity.

Does the Father Have Any Say in My Decision?

The father has no legal say in the decision-making process. The decision is completely up to the pregnant teenager. The father's consent is unnecessary and he has no right to be notified. However an unmarried father may be responsible for future child support

Should I Contact an Attorney?

You do not need to consult an attorney to have an abortion, and you do not need a family law attorney to get judicial bypass. If you have to go to court, having an attorney can be very helpful and make the process easier. An attorney may also help you communicate more effectively with the judge.

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Last Modified: 04-07-2015 11:34 AM PDT

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