What Are Teen Abortion Laws in the United States

Written by S. Danilina and Fact Checked by The Law Dictionary Staff  

Currently, abortions are legal in the United States of America. However, if a pregnant woman is still a teenager, the laws on abortions vary from state to state. According to the National Abortion Federation four in every five Americans begin having intercourse before age 20. By the time they turn 20, about 40% of American women have been pregnant at least once.

Many states already have or consider passing laws that restrict teenagers’ access to abortion by requiring a written parental consent prior to having an abortion or by requiring  medical personnel to notify a minor’s parents of her intention to have an abortion. Nevertheless, nearly every state has judicial bypass options that allow a pregnant teenager to obtain a judge’s permission to proceed with an abortion without involving her parents. Furthermore, some states allow a physician to waive parental involvement, and some allow a teen to have a professional counseling instead of parental involvement.

The Teen Abortion Laws by State

The states that require a teen to get a written consent of a parent or a guardian to receive abortion services are Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Tennessee. South Carolina teen abortion law differs from the states mentioned above. South Carolina law only requires a written consent of a parent or a grandparent only if a pregnant teen is under 17. Wisconsin law is even more lenient: it allows any relative of a teen who is over 25 years old to give permission to have an abortion.

California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington laws do not require a parent permission in order for a pregnant teen to have an abortion.

The states that require that both or one of the parents be told of a teen’s decision to have an abortion before the medical procedure are Arkansas, Georgia, Florida, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. These states usually require to inform parents about the abortion procedure requested by their daughter no later than 24-48 hours before it.

Delaware law requires that if a minor is younger than 16, one of her parents, a grandparent or a mental health professional be told of  her decision 24 hours before the abortion.

Iowa law requires that one of a teen’s parents or a grandparent be told of the decision to have an abortion 48 hours before the procedure.

North Carolina law requires that one of a teen’s parents or a grandparent, with whom she has lived for at least six months, gives permission for an abortion.

Maine law requires that one of a teen’s parents or an adult family member (for example, it can be over 18-year-old sister or an uncle) give permission to have an abortion.

Alaska, Arizona and Colorado currently do not require a written parent consent for a teen who is seeking to have an abortion. However, Alaska law requires girls younger than 17 to get permission from one parent in order to receive an abortion. On the other hand, Arizona and Colorado law require girls younger than 18 to get permission from one parent before proceeding with an abortion.

Finally, currently only in South Dakota all abortions are legally banned.

Interesting that Laws in 46 states and the District of Columbia allow mothers who are under 18 years old to place their children for adoption without involving their parents, but many of those same states require some kind of a parental notification or consent before any pregnant teen can get an abortion.

More On This Topic



Comments are closed.