Judicial Bypass Wiki

Georgia’s 6 week abortion ban is in effect.

No matter their age, every person in Georgia has the legal right to get an abortion. But the state restricts abortions in some ways.

In Georgia, every person who wants or needs to have an abortion must:

  • get counseling in person or by phone with a clinic;
  • wait 24 hours after getting counseling before they can have the abortion.

All abortions must be performed before 6 weeks, unless the pregnant person’s life or physical health is in danger.

All abortion providers give some counseling to make sure you understand the medical process. But in Georgia, the law makes abortion providers offer you certain written materials about abortion that may be misleading or completely wrong. You don’t have to take these materials or read them if you don’t want to, but if you do read them and have questions, you can connect with other young people who have had an abortion to hear about their experiences here. You can also learn more about abortion procedures, how people may feel afterward, and learn about free, confidential, phone-based counseling services here. You can also talk to clinic staff if you have questions.

Georgia also has a telemedicine program through Carafem, which lets you get an abortion without needing to travel to an abortion clinic if you meet their requirements. You can find more information on Carafem in Georgia here.

 

In Georgia, a doctor must tell a young person’s parent or guardian that the young person is getting an abortion before the procedure. This is called parental notification or parental notice.

This means that your parent must be told that you plan to have an abortion at least 24 hours before the procedure. But your parent does not need to give you permission to have the abortion. If you feel safe doing so, you can talk to your parent or guardian ahead of time to let them know they will be receiving notice. Even if another supportive adult or foster parent supports your decision, they cannot be the ones to receive notification. But you can ask a supportive adult to help you get a judicial bypass.

If you are married or an {{emancipated}{An emancipated minor went through a legal process and has court order stating that they are freed from their parents and are legally an adult}} minor, you can get an abortion without your parent being told.

Not everyone can tell their parent about their decision to have an abortion. If you cannot or choose not to talk to your parent, there is another option called a judicial bypass. A judicial bypass means asking a judge to allow you to get an abortion without telling your parent.

This is a legal process that a lawyer can help you with. You do not need a lawyer, but you can have a lawyer for free if you want one. All you need to do is ask a juvenile court {{clerk}{A clerk is someone who works for the court, they are the ones that usually accept forms and schedule meetings with the judge}} for one.

Your lawyer’s job is to represent you in court. That means they are there to help you ask for what you want. Even if the lawyer was given to you by the court, it is your lawyer’s job to help you ask the court for what you want.

The next section explains how to ask the court for a lawyer.

  1. If you already know which clinic you would like to go to, start by contacting them to make an appointment for an abortion.

If you do not know which clinic you want to go to, you can find a list of clinics here. You can also visit the Planned Parenthood website to find a clinic near you by clicking here. You can also go to a clinic outside of the state you live in.

You can also contact Summit Atlanta Call Center and Clinic at (404) 607-0042 or (800) 537-2985, there are advocates there that can help guide you through the bypass process.

When you call tell them that you are a minor and need help with a judicial bypass. Clinics can tell you more about the process and answer your questions.

You can also contact the Repro Legal Helpline if you need help getting connected to a lawyer in GA. You can contact the Helpline here.

  1. You will need to fill out a {{petition}{A petition is a form you fill in with information that tells the court what you are asking for}} to ask for judicial bypass. The process is free. Georgia does not make the judicial bypass petition form available online.

3. The process for filing your petition will be different depending on which county you go to. You can go to any juvenile court in the state, not just the one in the county that you live in or plan to have the abortion in.  Local advocates recommend going to court only in Fulton or Gwinnett County. This is because not every judge at every court will grant a bypass and not all courts will have a clear process for filing a petition.

If you have questions about filling out a petition, you can call the abortion clinic or a juvenile court clerk to ask for help. To find the juvenile court {{clerk}{A clerk is someone who works for the court, they are the ones that usually accept forms and schedule meetings with the judge}} to contact in your area, you can look here. When you speak to the court clerk, you can ask them about getting an attorney to help you for free. Local advocates say it’s not always certain that a clerk will be able to help.

4. Once you have filled out a petition, you turn it in to any juvenile court. To find the juvenile court in your area, you can look here. After they receive your petition, the judge will schedule a {{hearing}{a hearing is a meeting with a judge}}. The hearing will happen within 3 days after you turn in the petition—not including weekends and holidays.

It is important to talk to your lawyer before the hearing because they will have a lot of useful information and advice for you about talking to the judge.

The judge might assign you a {{guardian ad litem}{A guardian ad litem is not the same as a lawyer. A lawyer is someone who is supposed to help you get the result you want from the court. A guardian ad litem on the other hand, is assigned by the court to tell them what they think is the best result for you. This might be different from what you want}}

At the {{hearing}{a hearing is a meeting with the judge}}, the judge will ask you questions. This may happen in the judge’s office or it might happen in a courtroom. Since every judge is different, we cannot know exactly what a judge will ask you.

Judges can ask your age, whether you have had a job, if you have lived away from your parents, if you have traveled by yourself, if you have your own money and know what a budget is, and whether you have made other big decisions in your life. The judge might also ask what has happened since you found out you were pregnant, what you think will happen if you don’t have an abortion, and what you did to decide you wanted or needed an abortion. The judge might ask you why you want or need an abortion.

You can find a list of other questions that a judge may ask here. A judge might also ask questions that are not listed here, but it is a good idea to start thinking about what your answers are to these questions so you are ready if the judge asks. Your lawyer can help you with this.

After the hearing, the judge makes a decision about whether you can have an abortion without telling your parent. If you do not go to court to talk to the judge at the time you are scheduled to be there, the judge could automatically decide that you cannot get an abortion without getting consent from your parent.

If you think you cannot make it to the hearing, but still want the judicial bypass, you can ask for a different time to talk to the judge. If you have a lawyer, ask your lawyer about changing the time. If you don’t have a lawyer, call the court and tell them you have a time to talk to the judge but need a {{different time}{The person at the court who you speak with might call this a continuance}}.

After the {{hearing}{a hearing is a meeting with the judge}}, the judge decides whether they think you are {{mature and well-informed}{The judge thinks you can make the decision to get an abortion without talking to your parent first}} enough to make this decision on your own, or if it’s in your {{best interest}{The judge thinks it would be better for you not to talk to your parents}}.

The judge usually makes a decision right away. But if not, the judge has to make a decision within 1 day. If the judge makes a decision and agrees that you can get an abortion without telling your parents, you will get an {{order from the court}{An official paper that you give to the clinic to show them that you have a judicial bypass}}.  If the judge does not make a decision within 1 day after the hearing, you will automatically get an order that allows you to get an abortion without telling your parents.

Having an order from the court means you can get an abortion in a clinic in Georgia without involving your parent. You will need to take the court order with you to the clinic to show that you have permission from the court to get an abortion. To protect your privacy, you can ask court/attorney to send a copy of the court order directly to the clinic for you. 

No. The judicial bypass is confidential, which means that no one outside of the court will be told about it. When you send in your application to get a judicial bypass, your parent or guardian will not be told about the {{hearing}{a hearing is a meeting with a judge}}.

No, if you are granted a judicial bypass that means you can get an abortion if you want. It does not mean you are required to and you can always change your mind. The court {{order}{official paper to give to the clinic to show them that you have a judicial bypass}} just means you can make the decision about whether you want or need an abortion without involving your parent/guardian.

If the judge says you cannot get an abortion without your parent’s permission, you can {{appeal}{An appeal is what happens when you do not agree with the judge’s decision and want to try and challenge that decision in court}} the decision.

So even if the judge tells you no, you can ask another court with different judges to make a different decision.

If you had a lawyer for the {{hearing}{a hearing is a meeting with a judge}}, they can talk to you about the appeal and help you understand what you need to do next. If you did not have a lawyer for the hearing, you will need to ask the court to give you a lawyer for the appeal.

You do not have to pay any money to get a judicial bypass. You may be able to get help paying for your abortion. Your clinic may be able to help you cover the cost of your abortion through an abortion fund:

The Access Reproductive Care – Southeast healthline supports callers in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

If you would like to request financial assistance or practical support (rides, lodging, or escorting) you can call them at (855) 227-2475 or submit an online form on their website here.

You can find a map of abortion clinics in Georgia here. You can also find a list of Planned Parenthood locations here.

Some clinics may have limited service or hours.

You can also use these directories to find an abortion clinic near you:

Planned Parenthood: Directory Here (make sure you select abortion in the services drop down menu) 

National Abortion Federation: Directory Here 

Abortion Care Network: Directory Here 

I Need An Abortion: Directory Here

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