Parental notification or consent laws—also known as parental involvement laws—govern a minor child’s ability to have an abortion procedure. These parental notification or parental involvement laws vary from state to state.
Most states require parental involvement in a minor child’s decision to have an abortion. Most of these states require the consent or notification of only one parent—usually within 24-48 hours before the procedure—but some states require the involvement of both parents.
Some states require the minor and a parent to provide government-issued identification to the abortion provider or to provide such identification as part of notarizing the parental consent form. In a few states, the parent must also provide proof of parenthood.
And several states allow grandparents or other adult relatives to be involved in place of the minor child’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 laws include a judicial bypass procedure that allows a minor child 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 may include the minor’s intelligence, emotional stability, and understanding of the potential consequences of obtaining an abortion.
Many states require a judge to use the strict legal standard of “clear and convincing evidence” to determine whether a minor is sufficiently mature and the abortion is in the minor child’s best interest before waiving the parental involvement requirement.