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Attorneys must take a bold, public stance supporting young people's access to abortion.
Sign on to our statement demanding an end to laws that force parental involvement in young people’s abortion decisions.
If/When/How works to ensure that young people can make important decisions about their reproductive wellbeing, including obtaining abortion care. In 37 states, people under the age of 18 who are seeking abortion care are forced to involve their parents or legal guardians. Parental involvement laws require a young person to notify and/or get consent from a parent — or do both — in order to legally make a decision to end their pregnancy. If a young person cannot or chooses not to involve a parent in their decision, they must seek to “bypass” this forced parental involvement with an order from a court. Either way, the choice is not their own — the final word rests either with a parent/legal guardian, or with a judge. This creates considerable barriers to abortion access and can cause significant delays for young people seeking abortion care, especially young people of color and those living in foster care or other state facilities.
Judicial bypass is a complicated procedure that functions differently from state to state and from county to county. It is essential to increase information about and access to judicial bypass so that young people are not foreclosed from making important reproductive decisions for themselves. If/When/How does this through bolstering support for those who assist young people when navigating the process by networking and educating legal professionals, clinic staff, and advocates on the ground. And because many of these laws are ambiguous, cumbersome, and poorly implemented, If/When/How believes that ending forced parental involvement in abortion decision-making through policy change is a key part of ensuring reproductive self-determination for all young people.
Join our statement supporting young people’s access to abortion, and demanding state leaders lessen the burden of forced involvement laws by facilitating remote hearings and allowing default orders, or, better yet, suspending and repealing forced parental involvement laws during the nationwide response to the COVID-19 pandemic — and beyond.
We denounce the denial of young people’s bodily autonomy and moral agency, and we thank you for standing with us.