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Can Your Teen Seek An Abortion Without Your Consent?

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Being the parent of a stubborn teenager can make the terrible twos seem like a breeze in comparison. With increased physical and social mobility, keeping tabs on your teen can be a challenge even for the most involved parents. And even if you're pro-choice in general, the thought of your under-eighteen-year-old obtaining an abortion without your knowledge or consent can be a sobering one. Is this legally possible in your state, and what rights do you have if you suspect your teen may be investigating this option to deal with an undisclosed pregnancy? Read on to learn more about which states prevent teens from obtaining an abortion without parental consent:

Which states have laws prohibiting teens from obtaining an abortion without parental consent?

Currently, at least 38 states have laws restricting the situations in which a minor can obtain an abortion. The majority of these states require one or both parents to consent to this abortion before it can be performed, while a smaller handful of states require only that the parent(s) be notified. 

However, even states that have these types of restrictions have outlined several exceptions that may still allow teens to obtain legal permission to have an abortion. If the teen alleges that her parents are abusive, or if an abortion is needed to save the life or preserve the fertility of the mother, permission may be granted even over your objection.

And if your teen opts to petition a court for the right to an abortion in a state that doesn't require notice to or the consent of parents, a judge may be able to step in and make this decision on your behalf. Because these cases are legally confidential and use only the petitioning party's initials, you won't be notified or even have access to online dockets or case records. 

What are your legal options if you'd like to intervene in your teen's prospective abortion? 

Regardless of your state's laws, it's important to be both compassionate and upfront with your teen. Regardless of whether you think she may be making a mistake in choosing abortion, she's ultimately the one who will need to live with this decision, both physically and emotionally, and bringing your relationship into a courtroom to battle her on this decision may create a divide you won't ever be able to overcome.

However, if you're determined to step in, you'll want to contact an attorney to ensure that both your rights and your child's rights are adequately protected. An attorney can also act as a type of buffer, helping smooth over the tough conversations that are likely to regularly occur if you're intervening to block your teen's abortion. 

Contact a medical office like Womens Clinic of Tallahassee for more information and assistance.