A majority of states require parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion. Most of these states require the consent or notification of only one parent, usually 24 or 48 hours before the procedure, but a handful of states require the involvement of both parents. Some states require the parental consent documentation to be notarized. On the other hand, several states allow grandparents or other adult relatives to be involved in place of the minor’s parents. Moreover, because the Supreme Court has ruled that states may not give parents an absolute veto over their daughter’s decision to have an abortion, most state parental involvement requirements include a judicial bypass procedure that allows a minor to receive court approval for an abortion without her parents’ knowledge or consent. Some states require judges to use specific criteria when determining whether to grant a waiver of parental involvement. These criteria vary by state, but can include the minor’s intelligence, emotional stability and understanding of the possible consequences of obtaining an abortion. Also, a significant number of states require the judge to find “clear and convincing evidence” that the minor is sufficiently mature or that the abortion is in her best interest prior to waiving the state’s parental involvement requirement. This is a stricter standard than is generally required in civil cases. Finally, many parental involvement requirements are waived if there is a medical emergency or the minor is the victim of abuse or neglect.
- 38 states require parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion.
- 21 states require parental consent only, 3 of which require both parents to consent.
- 11 states require parental notification only, 1 of which requires that both parents be notified.
- 5 states require both parental consent and notification.
- 8 states require the parental consent documentation to be notarized.
- 36 states that require parental involvement have an alternative process for minors seeking an abortion.
- 36 states include a judicial bypass procedure, which allows a minor to obtain approval from a court.
- 7 states require judges to use specific criteria, such as a minor’s intelligence or emotional stability, when deciding whether to waive a parental involvement requirement.
- 15 states require judges to use the “clear and convincing evidence” standard that the minor is mature and the abortion is in her best interest when deciding whether to waive parental involvement requirement.
- 7 states also permit a minor to obtain an abortion if a grandparent or other adult relative is involved in the decision.
- Most states that require parental involvement make exceptions under certain circumstances.
- 34 states permit a minor to obtain an abortion in a medical emergency.
- 15 states permit a minor to obtain an abortion in cases of abuse, assault, incest or neglect.
- United States: Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Monthly State Policy Updates
Get an overview of state legislative and policy activity in all topics of sexual and reproductive health.