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Parental Consent Laws for Abortion

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Parental Consent Laws for Abortion

An abortion is the termination of a pregnancy. State laws determine the process a woman must follow in order to legally terminate a pregnancy. Many states have also enacted parental consent laws for abortions involving minors.

A state may have no parental consent laws. If there are no parental consent laws in a state, then a minor as young as 13 years old can terminate her pregnancy in that state. California and Nevada are examples of states where no parental consent is needed.

What Is Parental Consent?

Parental consent is the permission a minor must obtain prior to engaging in any adult activity including an abortion. Some states require the permission is written by a parent or guardian. Tennessee, Michigan, Maryland and Pennsylvania are examples of states that require written parental consent.

Does My Daughter Have to Obtain Parental Consent from Both Parents?

Again, it depends on state law. States like North Carolina requires at least one parent or guardian the minor lives with to provide parental consent. Typically, the minor must live with the parent for at least six months before permission is valid. Many states require both parents’ permission. 

Do I Have to Give Parental Consent for My Daughter to Have an Abortion?

Some states require a parent to provide consent for the abortion. Other states like Maine only require an adult family member or 18 years old provide consent.

If a parent does not give permission, the minor can seek a judicial bypass. A judicial bypass is an application in state court. A judge will hear the case and consider whether to grant or deny based on:

  • If the minor is emancipated
  • If the minor is emotionally and mentally mature
  • If the abortion is in the minor’s best interest

The decision is usually made in two to four days. If the decision is appealed, the appeal will be ruled on within the same timeframe.

Should I Talk to a Lawyer about Parental Consent?

Parental consent laws for abortion vary by state. Parents cannot force their daughter to have an abortion. To learn more about parental consent and state abortion laws, contact a family law attorney. It will help you understand more about your rights regarding your daughter’s abortion. 

Photo of page author Taelonnda Sewell

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 04-07-2015 11:43 AM PDT

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