The 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 minor and a parent to provide government-issued identification to the abortion provider and/or as part of notarizing the parental consent form. In a small number of states, the parent must also provide proof of parenthood. Several states allow grandparents or other adult relatives to be involved in place of the minor’s parents, and many waive parental involvement requirements if there is a medical emergency or the young person is the victim of abuse or neglect.
Because the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that states may not give parents an absolute veto over their child'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 their parents’ knowledge or consent. Some states require judges to use specific criteria when determining whether to grant a waiver of parental involvement. These criteria can include the young person's intelligence, emotional stability and understanding of the possible consequences of obtaining an abortion. Many states require a judge to use the unusually strict legal standard of “clear and convincing evidence” to determine whether a minor is sufficiently mature and the abortion is in their best interest prior to waiving the parental involvement requirement.
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- 38 states require parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion.
- 21 states require only parental consent; 3 of these require both parents’ consent.
- 6 states require both parental notification and consent.
- 11 states require only parental notification; 1 of these requires that both parents be notified.
- 7 states permit a minor to obtain an abortion if a grandparent or other adult relative is involved in the decision.
- 11 states require identification for parental consent.
- 4 states require proof of parenthood for parental consent.
- 2 states require a minor’s identification to have an abortion.
- 37 states that require parental involvement have an alternative process for minors seeking an abortion.
- 37 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, for deciding whether to waive parental involvement.
- 15 states require judges to use the “clear and convincing evidence” standard to determine whether the minor is mature and the abortion is in their best interest when deciding whether to waive parental involvement.
- Most states that require parental involvement make exceptions under certain circumstances.
- 35 states permit a minor to obtain an abortion in a medical emergency.
- 16 states permit a minor to obtain an abortion in cases of abuse, assault, incest or neglect.
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