Can Minors Get Abortions?
Abortion is under attack across the United States. This war on abortion has forced many abortion clinics to follow restrictions that are not medically necessary, or even to give their patients scientifically inaccurate information. If you’re under 18, you might wonder if it is legal for you to get an abortion. The answer is usually yes, but you may have to jump through significant hoops.
Is it Legal for Me to Have an Abortion in My State?
In many states, a person under 18 can get an abortion without a parent’s permission or knowledge. Most states, however, require some degree of parental involvement. In some, a parent only has to know about the abortion, not approve. In others, a parent must take the minor to get the abortion, or sign off on the procedure. Some states, such as Delaware and Illinois, allow other relatives to consent to a minor’s abortion.
The states in which you don’t need a parent’s permission or notification for an abortion include:
- New York
- Rhode Island
California, New Mexico, and Nevada have enjoined parental notification and/or consent laws.
Can I Get an Abortion in Another State?
In many cases, you can get an abortion in another state, even if your home state bans the procedure. However, some states, such as Texas, ban adults from taking minors across state lines for the specific purposes of abortion. There are often ways to get around these laws–such as having an abortion while on vacation, or driving yourself instead of relying on an adult.
However, these legal loopholes are narrow, and vary from state to state. So minors considering an abortion should carefully research state laws. If an adult is helping you, they may want to consult with an attorney. Conversations with a lawyer are privileged, which means the lawyer cannot tell your parents or anyone else about the abortion.
Judicial Bypass Abortion
In cases where a minor cannot get permission from a parent to have an abortion, they can seek a judicial bypass. This is when a judge authorizes an abortion instead of a parent. This may happen in cases of child abuse or rape, when a minor does not have a responsible parent, or when the parent might become abusive upon learning of the child’s pregnancy. In most cases, the judicial bypass process is confidential. However, judges may bring their own biases to the process, so it is important to get legal advice. Contact Jane’s Due Process if you are considering a judicial bypass abortion.
Minors often have trouble paying for their own abortions. We’ve compiled a list of resources for you here.