Do I Need A Parent’s Permission To Get An Abortion?

Illustrated by Anna Sudit.
Someone asked us:
I'm pregnant and definitely want an abortion. I'm under 18. Does that matter?
It depends on where you live. The good news is, it’s not illegal for a minor to get an abortion in the U.S. — no matter where you are. However, abortion laws vary from state to state, which can make it tricky to know what you’ll need to do to get an abortion.
Advertisement
Many states require your parents to be notified or give their permission before you can get an abortion if you’re under 18. Other states protect minors’ rights to confidential reproductive health care, including abortion, and you’re not required to involve your parents or guardians at all.
It’s usually a good idea to tell your parents about your decision, no matter what the laws are where you live. Even if it seems scary, most parents are supportive and just want to help. However, not everyone is in a situation where it’s safe to tell their parents, so many states have exceptions to these laws. In most states with these requirements, you can ask a judge to excuse you from telling your parent or guardian. (This is called a “judicial bypass.”) A legal guardian can also give permission or be notified in place of a parent. If you meet legal rules showing that you’re independent of the care and control of your parents or a guardian, you don’t need to get their permission or notify them.
In some states, you can be excused from involving a parent without going to a judge if you’re the victim of abuse or neglect and you or your doctor report this to the appropriate authorities.
Here’s a list all of the states and their laws (as of November 1, 2014). Your nearest Planned Parenthood health center can give you more information about the laws where you live.
Alabama
Your state requires that one of your parents give permission for your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Advertisement
Alaska
Your state requires that one of your parents be told of your decision 48 hours before your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement. This law only applies to girls younger than 17.
Arizona
Your state requires that one of your parents give permission for your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Arkansas
Your state requires that one of your parents give permission for your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
California
No parental involvement requirement.
Colorado
Your state requires that one of your parents be told of your decision 48 hours before your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement. If you do not live with your parents, but you live with a grandparent, or an adult aunt or uncle, the adult relative you live with may be told in place of your parents.
Advertisement
Connecticut
No parental involvement requirement.
Delaware
Your state requires that one of your parents, a grandparent, or a mental health professional be told of your decision 24 hours before your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement. This law only applies to girls younger than 16.
District of Columbia (Washington, D.C.)
No parental involvement requirement.
Florida
Your state requires that one of your parents be told of your decision 48 hours before your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Georgia
Your state requires that one of your parents be told of your decision 24 hours before your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Advertisement
Hawaii
No parental involvement requirement.
Idaho
Your state requires that one of your parents give permission for your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Illinois
Your state requires that one of your parents, a step-parent living in the household, or a grandparent be told of your decision 48 hours before your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Indiana
Your state requires that one of your parents give permission for your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Iowa
Your state requires that one of your parents or a grandparent be told of your decision 48 hours before your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Advertisement
Kansas
Your state requires that both of your parents give permission for your abortion. If your parents are separated or divorced, only the parent with custody needs to give permission. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Kentucky
Your state requires that one of your parents give permission for your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Louisiana
Your state requires that one of your parents give permission for your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Maine
No parental involvement requirement.
Maryland
Your state requires that one of your parents be told of your decision before your abortion, unless you do not live with either parent and a reasonable effort to give notice is unsuccessful. A doctor can excuse you from this requirement.
Advertisement
Massachusetts
Your state requires that one of your parents give permission for your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Michigan
Your state requires that one of your parents give permission for your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Minnesota
Your state requires that both of your parents be told of your decision 48 hours before your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Mississippi
Your state requires that both of your parents give permission for your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Missouri
Your state requires that one of your parents give permission for your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Advertisement
Montana
No parental involvement requirement.
Nebraska
Your state requires that one of your parents give permission for your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Nevada
No parental involvement requirement.
New Hampshire
Your state requires that one of your parents be told of your decision 48 hours before your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Advertisement
New Jersey
No parental involvement requirement.
New Mexico
No parental involvement requirement.
New York
No parental involvement requirement.
North Carolina
Your state requires that one of your parents, or a grandparent with whom you have lived for at least six months, give permission for your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
North Dakota
Your state requires that both of your parents give permission for your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Advertisement
Ohio
Your state requires that one of your parents give permission for your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Oklahoma
Your state requires that one of your parents be told of your decision at least 48 hours before the abortion takes place, and give permission for the abortion. A judge can excuse you from these requirements.
Oregon
No parental involvement requirement.
Pennsylvania
Your state requires that one of your parents give permission for your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Rhode Island
Your state requires that one of your parents give permission for your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Advertisement
South Carolina
Your state requires that one of your parents or a grandparent give permission for your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement. This law only applies to girls younger than 17.
South Dakota
Your state requires that one of your parents be told of your decision 48 hours before your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Tennessee
Your state requires that one of your parents give permission for your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Texas
Your state requires that one of your parents give permission for your abortion, and separately that one parent be told of your decision 48 hours before the abortion takes place. A judge can excuse you from both of these requirements.
Utah
Your state requires that one of your parents give permission for your abortion, and separately that one parent be told of your decision 24 hours before the abortion takes place. A judge can excuse you from the first requirement (permission), but not the second (that a parent be told). You can, however, be excused from the second requirement if you have only one parent and that parent has abused you, and your doctor reports that abuse to the appropriate authorities. You can also be excused from this requirement if your parent has failed to take responsibility for your care.
Advertisement
Vermont
No parental involvement requirement.
Virginia
Your state requires that one of your parents or a grandparent or adult sibling with whom you live give permission for your abortion, and separately that one parent or a grandparent or adult sibling with whom you live be told of your decision 24 hours before the abortion takes place. A judge can excuse you from both of these requirements.
Washington
No parental involvement requirement.
West Virginia
Your state requires that one of your parents be told of your decision 24 hours before your abortion. A judge or a doctor, other than the doctor who will perform the abortion, can excuse you from this requirement.
Wisconsin
Your state requires that one of your parents; a foster parent; a grandparent; or an aunt, uncle, or sibling who is at least 25 years old give permission for your abortion. A judge can excuse you from this requirement.
Advertisement
Wyoming
Your state requires that one of your parents be told of your decision 48 hours before your abortion and give permission for the abortion. A judge can excuse you from these requirements.
This might be a stressful time for you — your local Planned Parenthood health center is here to help. You can reach out to them to find out more about the laws in your state and the judicial bypass option. Take care and best of luck.
Advertisement