This post was written by Paige Alexandria, a counselor at Austin Women’s Health Center, and a volunteer advocate at Jane’s Due Process, one of our funding partners.
Restrictions When Needing Abortion and Birth Control
In Texas, laws restrict people from getting birth control or an abortion under 18 without permission from a parent or legal guardian — this is known as “parental consent.” Teens who cannot involve their parent(s) due to various reasons have the legal right to seek a judicial bypass — which is an order from a judge that allows you to get an abortion without parental consent.
Abortion Under 18
If you’re seeking an abortion under 18 and cannot get parental consent, the organization Jane’s Due Process can help! Jane’s Due Process (JDP) helps minors in Texas obtain a judicial bypass. They provide a confidential 24/7 phone hotline and can receive anonymous text messages from 8am-11pm CT.
Prior to seeing a judge to get your bypass approved, you will need to book an appointment for the abortion.
For those living in Texas, within 100 miles from a clinic, a minimum of two appointments are required to set up your abortion — first, make an ultrasound appointment; then, schedule the abortion. It’s important to know that you do not need parental consent to schedule or attend the ultrasound appointment.
If you intend on contacting Jane’s Due Process for help with the abortion, find your closest clinic here to schedule an ultrasound. In case you’re feeling anxious over what to say, maybe try saying something like this:
“Hi, I’m a teen needing to schedule an ultrasound appointment for an abortion, and I’ll be working with Jane’s Due Process.”
After you schedule your ultrasound, call JDP at 1-866-999-5263 to do an intake process — so they can know how to best support you! If you need assistance with transportation to the clinic or with paying for the abortion, you can let them know.
The Jane’s Due Process (JDP) client services manager will help teens apply for funding and logistical support for the abortion.
Once you have your ultrasound, JDP will match you with a free attorney who will support you every step of the way as you await approval for a judicial bypass. Your attorney will help prepare you for the hearing with a judge who has the power to grant the bypass.
If your judicial bypass is approved, you’ll need to bring it with you to the clinic on the day of your abortion. You’ll also need to bring some form of ID.
Minors needing birth control without parental consent can visit a Title X participating family planning clinic. Services here are completely confidential (so your parents won’t find out!) and are based on your own income, not your parent(s).
For most teens, the cost is completely free. Click here for tips before scheduling an appointment and here to find a Title X clinic near you.
There is only one Title X clinic currently operating in Austin:
Title X is a federal grant program that provides reproductive and sexual healthcare to everyone regardless of their age, income, or citizenship.
Their services include the full range of birth control options (such as contraception pills, IUDs, the Implant, and more), pregnancy testing, STD/STI testing, pregnancy options counseling, and more. It is important to know that Title X clinics cannot talk to you about abortion as a pregnancy option.
If you think you may be pregnant and would like to learn about abortion under 18, you can take a free pregnancy test with us at Austin Women’s Health Center by just walking in. You do not need parental consent to take a pregnancy test, and the results are confidential. If the test is positive, the clinic staff can talk to you about your options for abortion.
Additional options for obtaining birth control without parental consent:
If you are 16-17, live apart from your parent(s), and support yourself, you can legally get birth control from Planned Parenthood without parental consent.
If you have Medicaid, with the exception of CHIP, you can go to any family planning clinic that accepts your plan and provides birth control. When doing this, keep in mind that services will show up on a claim/billing statement which may be accessible to your parents. If privacy is a concern, this may not be the best option.
You can get free condoms from www.texaswearscondoms.com – they will come in a discreet package! You can also buy condoms anywhere they are sold, as there is no age requirement for purchasing condoms in Texas. (Make sure to check the expiration date!)
Learn how you can purchase Plan B emergency contraception (EC) anywhere it’s sold, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, or Amazon. Call the Emergency Contraception Hotline to find EC near you – 1-888-NOT-2-LATE
Amazon sells emergency contraception for less than $10, and shipping is free with Amazon Prime. Just search for “My Way” or “My Choice” — if shipping to your home address isn’t possible, you can opt to pick your package up from an Amazon Locker
If you are 17, you can walk-in to purchase emergency contraception from Austin Women’s Health Center. We have generic EC and ELLA® Plan B options.
Avoiding Crisis Pregnancy Centers
We understand thinking you might be pregnant can be scary and intimidating, and we want you to know we support you in whatever decision you make. However, there are certain places that you’ll want to avoid if you’re considering an abortion.
Crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs) may seem inviting because they offer free ultrasounds, and they may even claim to offer information on all pregnancy options, including referrals for abortion.
But because Texas law requires that the same doctor performing your abortion must also perform your ultrasound, pursuing an ultrasound at a crisis pregnancy center can delay the care you need at an abortion clinic — and these pregnancy centers are known to interfere with a person’s right to choose!
They may tell you you’re not pregnant at all, or that you’re further into the pregnancy than you are – so abortion doesn’t seem like an option you have. CPC’s are also known to provide medically inaccurate information about abortion. There are many different ways they may try to shame you into continuing a pregnancy.
Because getting a judicial bypass can take roughly 1-3 weeks, it’s important to not delay time by visiting one of these harmful centers.
To avoid delaying your abortion or the judicial bypass process, be sure to visit one of Austin’s reputable abortion clinics. There are only four abortion clinics in Austin: Austin Women’s Health Center, Planned Parenthood (Ben White), Planned Parenthood (Research Blvd.), and Whole Woman’s Health (Duval Rd.)
Still have questions about accessing birth control or abortion under 18 without parental consent? Call or text Jane’s Due Process at 1-866-999-5263 for assistance!