Abortion Laws for Teens by State

Abortion laws for minors vary greatly by state.
Image Source/Getty Images

No parent ever wants to imagine their teen having an abortion. But, hundreds of thousands of teen girls become pregnant every year in the United States. And most of those pregnancies are unplanned. 

Teen pregnancies have sharply declined over the past decade thanks to increased campaigns aimed at educating young people about birth control. But, the United States still has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the industrialized world.

While no state requires parental consent for contraception, the abortion laws for teens vary greatly by state. Some states require parental notification, others require consent, and some states don't require any type of parental involvement.

Most states have special provisions for teens who experience medical problems and for those who have become pregnant as a result of incest or sexual abuse.

Here are the current abortion laws for teens by state:

Alabama

  • Requires parental consent from one parent.
  • Allows minor to bypass parent's consent by obtaining a court approval.

Alaska

  • If the girl is under the age of 17, the state requires parental consent from one parent 48 hours before the abortion.
  • A judge can excuse a minor from this requirement.

Arizona

  • Requires parental consent from one parent.
  • Allows minor to bypass parent's consent by obtaining a court approval.

Arkansas

  • Requires parental consent from one parent.
  • Allows minor to bypass parent's consent by obtaining a court approval.

California

  • No parental involvement required.

Colorado

  • Requires one parent be notified of the decision 48 hours before the abortion.
  • Allows minor to bypass parent by obtaining a court approval.
  • If the minor lives with an adult relative other than a parent, the adult relative may be informed of the abortion instead of the parent.

    Connecticut

    • No parental involvement required.

    Delaware

    • Requires one parent, grandparent, or mental health professional be told of the minor's decision 24 hours before the abortion when the girl is under the age of 16. 
    • Allows minor to bypass parent by obtaining a court approval.

    Florida

    • Requires one parent be notified 48 hours before the abortion. Parents do not have to consent.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent by obtaining a court approval.

    Georgia

    • Requires one parent be notified 24 hours before the abortion. Parents do not have to consent.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent by obtaining a court approval.

    Hawaii

    • No parental involvement required.

    Idaho

    • Requires one parent give permission for the abortion.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent by obtaining court approval.

    Illinois

    • Requires one parent, step-parent who lives in the home, or grandparent be notified 48 hours before the abortion.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent by obtaining court approval.

    Indiana

    • Requires parental consent from one parent.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent's consent by obtaining a court approval.

    Iowa

    • Requires parent or grandparent be notified 48 hours before the abortion.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent by obtaining a court approval.

    Kansas

    • Requires both parents give permission for an abortion.If parents are separated or divorced, only the parent with custody needs to give permission. 
    • Allows minor to bypass parent by obtaining a court approval.

    Kentucky

    • Requires parental consent from one parent.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent's consent by obtaining a court approval.

    Louisiana

    • Requires parental consent from one parent.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent's consent by obtaining a court approval.

    Maine

    • No parental involvement required. 

    Maryland

    • Requires one parent be told of the decision. If the minor does not live with either parent and reasonable effort to give notice is unsuccessful, permission can be granted.
    • Allows doctors to excuse the requirement.

    Massachusetts

    • Requires parental consent from one parent.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent's consent by obtaining a court approval.

    Michigan

    • Requires parental consent from one parent.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent's consent by obtaining a court approval.

    Minnesota

    • Requires parental notification of both parents 48 hours before the abortion.Parents do not have to consent.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent by obtaining a court approval.

    Mississippi

    • Requires parental consent from both parents.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent's consent by obtaining a court approval.

    ​​Missouri

    • Requires parental consent from one parent.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent's consent by obtaining a court approval.

    Montana

    • No parental involvement required.

    Nebraska

    • Requires parental consent from one parent.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent by obtaining a court approval.

    Nevada

    • No parental involvement required.

    New Hampshire

    • Requires one parent be notified of the decision 48 hours before the abortion.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent by obtaining court approval.

    ​​New Jersey

    • No parental involvement required.

    New Mexico

    • No parental involvement required.

    New York

    • No parental involvement required.

    North Carolina

    • Requires parental consent from one parent, or a grandparent with whom the minor has resided with for at least six months, to give permission for the abortion.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent by obtaining a court approval.

    North Dakota

    • Requires parental consent from both parents.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent by obtaining a court approval.

    Ohio

    • Requires parental consent from one parent.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent by obtaining a court approval.

    Oklahoma

    • Requires parental notification of one parent 48 hours in advance and the parent has to give consent. 
    • Allows minor to bypass parent by obtaining a court approval.

    Oregon

    • No parental involvement required.

    Pennsylvania

    • Requires parental consent from one parent.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent consent by obtaining a court approval.

    Rhode Island

    • Requires parental consent from one parent.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent by obtaining a court approval.

    South Carolina

    • Requires parental consent from one parent or grandparent for girls under age 17.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent by obtaining a court approval.

    South Dakota

    • Requires parental notification 48 hours before the abortion.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent by obtaining a court approval.

    Tennessee

    • Requires parental consent from one parent.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent’ consent by obtaining a court approval.

    Texas

    • Requires parental consent from one parent. One parent must be told of the decision 48 hours before the abortion.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent consent by obtaining a court approval.

    Utah

    • Requires one parent be notified 24 hours before the abortion and one parent must give consent.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent consent by obtaining a court approval but that parent must be notified.
    • A judge may excuse the minor from notifying a parent if the minor only has one parent and that parent has been abusive and a doctor has reported the abuse to the appropriate authorities. Additionally, a minor may be excused from this requirement if a parent has failed to take responsibility for the minor's care. 

    Vermont

    • No parental involvement required.

    Virginia

    • Requires consent from one parent, grandparent, or adult sibling with whom the minor lives.
    • One parent, grandparent, or adult sibling with whom the minor lives must be notified 24 hours before the abortion.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent by obtaining a court approval.

    Washington

    • No parental involvement required.

    West Virginia

    • Requires one parent be notified 24 hours before the abortion.
    • A judge or doctor can excuse the minor from this requirement.

    Wisconsin

    • Requires one parent, foster parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, or sibling who is at least 25 years old give permission for the abortion.
    • Allows minor to bypass parent by obtaining a court approval.

    Wyoming

    • Requires parental notification 48 hours before the abortion and the parent must consent.
    • Allows minor to bypass parental consent by obtaining a court approval.

    Prevent Unplanned Pregnancy

    Hold frequent conversation with your teen about difficult subjects, like sex and birth control. Providing facts, as well as information about your values, can influence your teen's decisions.

    Although studies show teens are influenced by the media, their parents still have the biggest influence over them when it comes to issues like abortion. 

    Whether you have a son or a daughter, make it clear you want your child to be able to support a baby, before having one. 

    Sources

    Altshuler AL, Storey HLG, Prager SW. Exploring abortion attitudes of US adolescents and young adults using social media. Contraception. 2015;91(3):226-233. 

    Planned Parenthood: Parental Consent and Notification Laws

    Guttmacher Institute: Teens

    Continue Reading