Bold statement graphic for Youth Abortion Access Week with an If/When/How logo in the upper right corner. The background is a mustard yellow with primrose centered text that reads, “Young people are capable of making their own decisions about their bodies and lives.” To the left of the “og” is a multicolored butterfly and flowting of the period that ends the statement is a multicolored butterfly below and to the right.
It’s More Important Than Ever for Young People to Have Access to Legal Information about Abortion

Welcome to our fifth annual Youth Abortion Access Week at If/When/How. We’re highlighting the work of youth activists, legal professionals, and supporters around the country who are making sure young people are not an asterisk in abortion access.

By Rebecca Wang, J.D., Legal Support Counsel

During Youth Access Week 2020, I wrote a blog introducing the Judicial Bypass Wiki (JB Wiki) as a resource we hoped would help young people navigate the post-Covid abortion landscape. 

Now, of course, we are pivoting to face a changed abortion landscape again, with new and changing barriers for people seeking an abortion, particularly young people.

At the time of writing this, eight states have completely banned abortion access, with several other states gearing up to do the same following the Supreme Court’s overturn of Roe v. Wade.

While a lot has changed in the past few months, I want to stress that some things have not: Abortion is still a human right, and young people should have full autonomy over their own pregnancy, birthing, and parenting decisions.

Accordingly, If/When/How’s JB Wiki and JB Helpline are still here, and we are still offering information to young people interested in getting an abortion without parental involvement. 

At the JB Wiki, we are working to stay on top of all the changing laws on the state pages and have updated our Wiki map to reflect the states that currently have bans in place in an effort to provide the most accurate information at-a-glance. On the Helpline, we are still committed to talking to young people about their rights and connecting them to available resources when possible.

However, the reality is that judicial bypass in states where there are bans may be largely inaccessible, and traveling across states as a young person can be challenging.

I cannot stress enough that it is more important than ever for us to work together to maintain and advance abortion protections in our states. If your state doesn’t already have robust abortion protections in place that include protecting young people’s access, put pressure on your elected officials to make it happen. If you live in a state without an abortion ban, but it has a parental involvement law, young people coming into your state to access care will still have to involve a parent or go to court to get a judicial bypass. So, it’s important that we continue to work to repeal existing parental involvement laws and prevent the creation of new ones.

And if you’re a lawyer, we could use your help! You may be able to help represent young people in judicial bypass cases. Please sign up to get involved.