How To Get A Judicial Bypass & Birth Control If You’re A Teen
Texas has a parental consent restriction in effect, which means if you’re under 18, the law requires that your parent, custodial parent, or legal guardian, give written permission before you can have an abortion procedure. Only one parent needs to give permission, and consent is only required for the abortion appointment, not the ultrasound. Young people 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.
This law may not apply to you, or is handled differently, under the following situations:
- You get a court order through the judicial bypass process
- You are married or legally emancipated from your parents
Obtaining A Judicial Bypass
If you’re seeking an abortion under 18 and cannot get parental consent, Jane’s Due Process (JDP) can help! Jane’s Due Process helps minors in Texas obtain a judicial bypass confidentially through a court process. They also provide a confidential 24/7 phone hotline and an anonymous text hotline that operates from 8 am-11 pm CT.
Obtaining a judicial bypass means going through a court process that can take 1-3 weeks. You’ll meet with a judge for a hearing, or a conversation, about why you’re mature enough to make this decision without involving your parents. Sometimes this is because it isn’t safe to tell your parents because they won’t agree, or because you have significant life goals or situations that make continuing a pregnancy not possible. It can feel daunting and confusing, but most judicial bypasses are granted — and JDP will provide you with a free attorney and one-on-one support the entire time.
Things you can do before your judicial bypass hearing:
- Schedule an ultrasound appointment. You don’t need parental consent to have an ultrasound, only the abortion. Just let us know when you call to schedule an appointment, or through our online form, that you’re working with Jane’s Due Process. Learn what else you may be asked when you call by clicking here.
- Read what to expect during the intake process with JDP, and during the hearing with a judge. In order to start the process for a judicial bypass, you’ll have to have a short conversation over the phone with a volunteer that lets us know how to best support you. Read our blog highlighting one person’s personal experience through the judicial bypass process.
- Read about both medical and surgical abortions. Even though you’re only choosing one method, the judge may ask if you know how both options are performed, as well as their possible risks.
- Familiarize yourself with other things the judge might ask you at your hearing. JDP compiled this list of questions you can prepare for. It’s unlikely you will be asked all of these questions, and the attorney will still make sure you feel prepared in your answers.
- Try not to stress about money or resources. Not only is the judicial bypass process free, but the abortion afterward is, too. Additionally, if you need help with a ride to and from the clinic or courthouse, you can let Jane’s Due Process know during your intake call.
What to Expect At Your Abortion Appointments
For those in Texas living within 100 miles from a clinic, a minimum of two appointments is required to have an abortion due to the state’s 24 hour waiting period. First, you’ll have an ultrasound appointment before scheduling the abortion while at the clinic. If you’re over 100 miles away from your nearest abortion provider, let us know when you schedule an appointment, as the 24 hour waiting period can be waived to two hours.
On the day of your ultrasound, you’ll meet with staff to review your medical history, receive state-mandated information, and the doctor will explain the differences in options, and answer any questions you may have. On the day of your abortion, you’ll meet with a counselor to explore any feelings you may have before continuing with your decision, in addition to providing a few more details about your situation per state requirements.
Please remember to bring your photo ID and birth certificate. If you have parental consent, your parent must also present their photo ID in order to establish the legal relationship between you. If you have consent from a legal guardian, they must also provide the notarized court ordered documentation that shows proof of full or medical guardianship. If you have a judicial bypass, you must bring that with you on the day of your abortion.
If you intend on contacting Jane’s Due Process for help with the abortion, find your closest clinic here to schedule an ultrasound. If you’re feeling anxious over what to say, try 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.”
We know that this can be a confusing process. Please call us to discuss your questions and concerns at (512) 443-2888.
Birth Control When Under 18
Minors needing birth control without parental consent can visit a Title X participating family planning clinic. Title X is a federal grant program that provides reproductive and sexual healthcare to everyone regardless of their age, income, or citizenship.
Their confidential (meaning they won’t contact your parents!) 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.
The cost is based on your own income, not your parent(s), and for most young people it’s completely free! At Austin Women’s Health Center, we cannot provide you birth control without parental consent, even if you have a judicial bypass, but we can still provide education on the available options.
Click here for tips before scheduling an appointment and here to find a Title X clinic near you.
*When making an appointment, you can say “I’d like to make an appointment for birth control without parental consent.” All you’ll need to bring with you is a form of ID if you have it!
Other Ways to Obtain Birth Control When Under 18
If you are 16-17 years old, live apart from your parent(s), and financially support yourself, you can legally get birth control from any 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 and/or dental dams from Texas Wears Condoms, and 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. You can also call the Emergency Contraception Hotline to find EC near you at 1-888-NOT-2-LATE
Amazon also 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. This option is best for purchasing in advance.
Lastly, 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. Due to COVID-19, walk-in services have currently been suspended. Please call for updates.
For more information about the judicial bypass process, you can contact Jane’s Due Process.
Call Toll-Free 24/7: 866-999-5263
Text between 8am-11pm CT: 866-999-5263
Jane’s Due Process can offer you emotional support, answer questions, and help you navigate unplanned pregnancy in a way that best suits your life and needs.