Abortion Rights of Minors

Authored by , LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

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Most Common Family Law Issues:

I'm Under 18 - 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 "judicial bypass").

My State Requires my Parents' Consent - Can I Get an Abortion in Another State Where Parental Consent is Not Necessary?

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 aunt.

My State Requires My Parents' Consent, but I Can't or Don't Want to Get Their Consent.  How Can I Get a Judge's Consent Instead?

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

The court must hear the case within a short time, usually within 3 or 4 days. If the petition is denied, you have the right to appeal. The court must then reconsider your petition, and within a short time as well. 

Do I Have to Tell the Father of the Fetus That I Want an Abortion?

The father need not be told anything at all. The decision is completely up to the pregnant teenager.

Does the Father of the Fetus Have any Say in My Decision to Have an Abortion?

The father has no legal say in 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.

I'm Under 18, Can My Parents Force Me to Have an Abortion or to Give the Baby Up for Adoption?

Parents of pregnant teenagers cannot force them into having an abortion or 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.

I'm Under 18, Do I Need an Attorney to Have an Abortion or to Get Judicial Bypass?

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: 02-06-2013 11:24 AM PST

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