Parental Consent and Notification Laws Affecting Teens

By OBOS Abortion Contributors | March 25, 2014

If you are under age 18, you may be required to tell or get permission from one or both parents, or a guardian, before you can get an abortion.

According to Guttmacher Institute, as of July 2019, 37 states require parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion. To find out about the specific laws and policies where you live, take a look at this Guttmacher Institute chart showing where parental involvement is required; also check out this overview of consent law for abortion, which also provides an overview of consent laws for contraceptive and STI services and prenatal care.

Most pregnant teens do consult with their parents, either on their own initiative or when encouraged by an abortion provider. The Abortion Care Network offers guidance on how to talk to your parents about your pregnancy, and provides resources for exploring all your options (abortion, parenting and adoption). It also includes advice for parents.

Some teens, however, don’t feel safe telling a parent. If you have a parent who is abusive or so strongly opposed to abortion that you fear telling him or her, you have other options. Some states will allow a minor to obtain an abortion if a grandparent or other adult relative is involved in the decision.

Or, you can go through a process called judicial bypass, which allows minors to seek permission from a judge to get an abortion, rather than from one or two parents. Many abortion clinics can help you negotiate the free and confidential process of obtaining judicial bypass.