If you are under 18 and wish to have an abortion in North Carolina, you must present one of the following to your health care provider:
- A parent, guardian or grandparent with whom you have lived for at least six months or longer, who will consent to the procedure.
- A judicial bypass or waiver if you are unable to get the consent of your parent, guardian or grandparent.
Getting a Judicial Bypass or Waiver
If you are under 18, you may have an abortion without the consent of your parent, guardian or grandparent, if you obtain a judicial bypass or judicial waiver.
To get a judicial bypass or waiver, you will first need to contact a clerk of court. Every county in North Carolina has a District Court. You do not have to be a resident of North Carolina to submit a waiver petition here. You also do not have to file your request in the county where you live.
To find a NC District Court, please visit http://www.nccourts.org/County/Default.asp.
Your may download the appropriate forms, fill them out, and then take them to the clerk of court or the clerk can provide you the forms.
Forms you'll need:
Instructions for Minor Petitioner
For Waiver of Parental Consent for a Minor’s Abortion
If you do not want your parent or legal guardian to be notified of the petition you are submitting, you must check the box that specifies this on the petition form.
If you would like the court to appoint you a lawyer or guardian ad-litem, be sure to check those boxes on your petition form.
After you file your petition form with the clerk, he or she will set up a time for you to meet with a judge. This meeting is referred to as a hearing. The clerk will tell you where the hearing will be and ask how you would like to be notified of the time and place. The hearing will be scheduled within a week of the time your petition is filed, unless you wish to delay it.
The Court Procedure
What You Should Expect
The only people present at the hearing will be you, your lawyer if you have one, the judge, a court clerk, and anyone else you want to accompany you. You and anyone who comes with you will have a chance to speak to the judge. You may bring witnesses, papers, and other information to support your request for a waiver.
Judges may grant the request if they find one of the following to be true:
You are mature and well-informed enough to make the decision;
Making the decision yourself is in your best interest; or
You are a survivor of rape, including statutory rape, or incest.
Questions the Judge May Ask
What have you done since you first found out you were pregnant?
Have you contacted any agencies? Which ones?
Have you talked to anyone about the pregnancy? Whom?
Why do you want to keep this private from your parents?
Do you work? If so, what kind of job is it? What is your salary?
Do you go to school? How are your academics?
What is your relationship like with your parents?
What are your future plans (college, career, job, etc.)?
What do you know about birth control? Do you use it? If not, do you plan to?
How much do you know about your other options? Do you know about adoption? What do you think it would be like to be a parent?
How much do you know about the abortion procedure? Do you know of potential risks and complications?
Why do you want an abortion?
What You Should Bring With You to Court
A certification of pregnancy and the estimated gestational age of the fetus. Your health care provider can give you this information.
Well thought-out answers to questions that judges commonly ask.
Witnesses, papers, or other information to support your request for a waiver.
Also if possible bring these forms from the NC Courts website:
Order on minor's petition for waiver of parental consent requirement for abortion http://www.nccourts.org/Forms/Documents/1165.pdf
Certificate Waiver of Parental Consent Requirement for Minor’s Abortion http://www.nccourts.org/Forms/Documents/1166.pdf
Ideas on What to Wear to Court
If you own professional or conservative business clothing or can borrow clothes from a friend, this is preferred.
After the Hearing
After your waiver petition has been filed, a judge has seven days to decide whether to grant it. Some judges talk with you on the same day you file your petition and reach a decision at the end of the hearing.
The petition and entire court proceeding is completely confidential. Your parents will not receive notice from the Court that you are asking for a waiver if you do not wish for them to be notified. The court papers are also private and may not be shown to anyone without permission.
Exception:North Carolina law mandates that health care providers must report any disclosers of abuse or neglect of minors to the authorities. We encourage you to seek support from your health care provider or other trusted adult if you have experienced or are experiencing sexual, physical, or emotional abuse.
If Your Request is Denied
If your request is denied, you have twenty-four hours to appeal. On appeal, you will be required to present your case over again, to a different judge. You are not limited to a single petition, and you may also file another petition in a different county.
If Your Request is Granted
If your request is granted, the judge will issue you an order. The clerk of court will then give you a certificate stating that you do not need an adult’s consent to seek an abortion. You need to present this certificate to your health care provider. If you lose the certificate, you will have to contact the court to issue you another one.
You have a legal right to obtain an abortion. The laws in North Carolina allow you to decide to have an abortion without your parent's consent by obtaining a judicial bypass. We can help you get in touch with many community resources if you would like assistance or counseling of any kind.