If you are a pregnant minor considering abortion, you must understand how the laws of your state apply to your case.
Some states are very strict and require a minor to obtain written consent from their parent(s) and/or legal guardians prior to getting an abortion. However, many states also offer options such as a judicial bypass. This allows minors to receive permission from a judge to proceed with the abortion without obtaining their parent or guardian’s consent.
Minor Abortion Laws by State
States that require consent of a parent or legal guardian:
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina (Only if minor under age of 17)
- Wisconsin (teen allowed to get permission from relative over 25)
States that do not require a minor to obtain a written consent of a parent or a legal guardian for an abortion:
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
Some States require a minor to obtain written consent from both father and mother, if the minor is in legal custody of both parents, before they can get an abortion. These states are:
- North Dakota
- West Virginia
How Can I Get a Judicial Bypass?
Even with state laws that restrict minors to have an abortion without the permission of a parent or guardian, there are options for minors such as a judicial bypass where allows the minor to obtain permission from a judge to have the abortion rather than having the parents be involved. 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
- 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 three or four days. The judge may hear the petition and has sole discretion whether to allow the minor to have the abortion. If the petition is denied, you have the right to appeal. The court must then reconsider your petition within a short time as well.
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. However, if you have to go to court, having an attorney can be very helpful and can make the process easier. An attorney will help you communicate more effectively with the judge.