Judicial Bypass Wiki

Michigan’s abortion ban has been blocked by a court. Doctors are still able to provide abortions in the state.

No matter their age, every person in Michigan has the legal right to get an abortion. But the state restricts abortions in some ways. In Michigan, every person who wants or needs to have an abortion must: 

  • get counseling in person at the clinic;
  • wait 24 hours after getting counseling before they can have the abortion.  

All abortions must be performed before 24 weeks unless the patient’s life or health is in danger. 

All abortion providers give some counseling to make sure you understand the medical process. But in some states like Michigan, 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 the staff at the clinic if you have questions.

Michigan makes people under age 18 get written permission from a parent or guardian before getting an abortion. That written permission is called consent.  If you feel safe and want to involve a parent in your decision to have an abortion, one option is to talk to them about whether they will give you permission to get an abortion.  In Michigan, you need consent from only one parent or guardian.

If you cannot or do not want to involve your parent or guardian, or if they will not consent, you can go to court and ask a judge to allow you to get an abortion. This is called 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 involving a parent or getting a judicial bypass.

In Michigan, only your parent or {{legal guardian}{A legal guardian has a court order stating that they have the legal authority and duty to care for a minor. This is different from a foster parent}} can consent to you having an abortion. Even if a supportive adult or foster parent supports your decision, they cannot give consent for you to have an abortion. This means that you will either need to ask your legal parent for their consent, or you can ask a supportive adult to help you get a judicial bypass. But you do not need to involve any adult in the process if you do not want to.  

If you do have a parent or guardian who will consent for you to have an abortion, they will have to go to the medical appointment with you.

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 the court 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. 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 also can go to a clinic outside of the state you live in.

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

  1. The Michigan government has a website with information about the judicial bypass process here. The process is free. 

Sometimes the court will automatically give you a lawyer for free. But if the court does not automatically do this, you can ask for a lawyer to represent you by filling out a form called the “Request and Order for Court-Appointed Attorney”. You can find that form here. After you ask for a lawyer, the court will give you one within 24 hours (1 day). Once the court tells you who will be helping you, you have to contact the lawyer within 24 hours (1 day). If you do not hear back from the attorney within 48 hours (2 days), you should call the court to let them know. 

You will also need to get and fill out a {{petition}{A petition is a form you fill in with information that tells the court what you are asking for}} and a confidential information form. You can find a link to the petition here. You can find a link to the confidential information for proceedings concerning waiver of parental consent form here. On that form, you will have to give your name, your date of birth, your address, and your phone number. If you only want your initials used in the court papers, you can tell the court what initials to use. If you have questions about filling out the forms, you can call the clinic or the {{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 ask for help. 

  1. Once the forms are filled out, you will have to take them to the clerk of the circuit court responsible for family proceedings. It doesn’t have to be the circuit court in the county where you live. To find courts in your area, you can look here. On that site, choose the county where you want to go to court and look for the probate court at the list at the bottom of the page. Your medical clinic can also help you figure out which court to go to.
  2. The clerk will tell you when your {{hearing}{A hearing is a meeting with the judge}} will be. The court must schedule a hearing within 72 hours (3 days) from when you give the court your petition and confidential information form, but this does not include weekends or holidays.

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

  1. You also can go to a clinic outside of the state where you live. If that is the decision you make, please go to the judicial bypass wiki page for that state to learn about its abortion restrictions, which could be very different from Michigan. 

At the {{hearing}{A hearing is a meeting with the judge}}, the judge will ask you questions to learn more about you. Since every judge is different, we cannot know exactly what they will ask you, but the judge is trying to decide whether you seem mature enough to make the decision to have an abortion without involving a parent. 

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, what plans you have for the future, 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 questions that a judge might 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 also help you with this. 

After the hearing, the judge makes a decision about whether you can have an abortion without telling a parent. The judge has to make the decision within 48 hours (2 days) of the hearing. 

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 scheduled 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.}} 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}}

If the judge makes a decision and agrees that you can get an abortion without a parent’s consent, you will get two copies of the same {{order}{An official paper that show’s the judge’s decision}} from the court. This is what you will need to take to the clinic to show that you have permission from the court to get an abortion. You can use the order for 90 days before it expires, and you can only use the order before the 24th week of pregnancy.

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 bypass, you can ask that your parent or guardian not be told about the {{hearing}{A hearing is a meeting with the 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.

If you want to appeal the judge’s decision, you have to fill out a form called the “Appeal of Order Denying Petition for Waiver of Parental Consent”. You have to do this within 24 hours (1 day) from the day the judge made their decision. You can find a link to what the appeal form will look like here. The new court will have to make a decision within 72 hours (3 days) of when you ask for the appeal. 

You may also decide to get an abortion from a different state that does not have a law that requires you to involve your parent. You can get a judicial bypass in a different state; if it is granted you will need to get the abortion in that same state.

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.

These abortion funds help service Michigan:

Fountain Street Church Choice Fund

616-459-8386

Reclaim MI WIN Fund (supports Northland Family Planning Centers)

Here is a link to a map of abortion clinics in Michigan.

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; some clinics provide counseling, referrals and follow-up exams but don’t directly provide abortion services) 

National Abortion Federation: Directory Here 

Abortion Care Network: Directory Here 

I Need An Abortion: Directory Here

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