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Abortion Rights of Teenage Girls

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Can I Have an Abortion without my Parents' Consent?

The answer to this varies from state to state. Few states, including California, allow minors to have all the reproductive rights and require (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").

If your state requires parental consent, you can go to another state where you do not live to get an abortion. However, due to laws about minors crossing state lines, it is advisable to travel with an older sibling, grandparent, or aunt.

Can I Get a Judge's Consent Instead of Parental Consent?

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:

  • Has the minor given informed consent to an abortion
  • Is the minor mature
  • Is the minor emancipated
  • Is an abortion in the best interests of the minor

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 say in decision-making. The decision is completely up to the pregnant teenager. The father's consent is unnecessary and he has no right to be notified.

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 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.

Do I Need a Family Law Attorney?

You do not need to consult a family attorney to have an abortion, and you do not need an 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 people to communicate more effectively with the judge.

Photo of page author Ken LaMance

, LegalMatch Law Library Managing Editor and Attorney at Law

Last Modified: 08-03-2016 10:29 PM PDT

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