Judicial Bypass Wiki

Ohio’s 6 week abortion ban is in effect. This means doctors in the state cannot provide abortions after 6 weeks of pregnancy.

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

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

  • get counseling in person at 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 Ohio, 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 staff at the clinic if you have questions.

Ohio makes people under age 18 get written permission from a 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}}  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 Ohio, you only need consent from one parent.

If you cannot or do not want to tell 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 judicial bypass.

If you are married, actively serving in the military, working and living away from your parents, you can get an abortion without getting consent from a parent or a judicial bypass.

In Ohio, only your parent, {{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}}, or {{legal custodian}{A legal custodian is a person or an agency who has been granted legal custody of a minor by a court. Sometimes a family member, like a grandparent, is given legal custody of a minor either permanently or for a short time. A legal custodian can also be a foster care agency or a juvenile corrections agency}} can consent to you having an abortion.

If your parent or guardian gives you permission, they must sign a form provided by the abortion clinic saying that they give you permission to have an abortion. This means that they will need to go with you to your first appointment at the abortion clinic.

When you call the clinic to schedule your first appointment, make sure to ask them what you will need to bring with you. You will most likely be asked to bring:

  1. A picture ID for yourself and for your parent/guardian. This can be a
    • driver’s license,
    • picture ID from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles,
    • passport, or
    • a work or school picture ID
  1. You will also need your birth certificate that includes the name of the parent coming with you to your appointment. If your legal guardian or custodian is coming with you, you will also need to bring a document that proves your guardian has the legal authority to care for you.

During your first appointment, you will be given information about the procedure and will have a chance to talk with someone about your options and your feelings. You and your parent will then be asked to sign forms saying that you received certain information and that you both consent to the abortion.

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

Judicial bypass is a legal process that a lawyer can help you with. If you don’t have a lawyer, the court will assign you one for free as part of the judicial bypass process.

  1. If you already know which clinic you would like to go to, you can start by calling them. If you do not know which clinic you want to go to, you can find a list of clinics here. When you call the clinic, tell them that you are a minor and you need help with a judicial bypass. The clinic may be able to tell you more about the process and may even be able to find you a lawyer or advocate who can help. The clinic also may tell you to call the juvenile court for instructions.

In Ohio, you have to get a judicial bypass from the juvenile court in the county where you live or in a neighboring county. (Find a map of Ohio counties here.) Some people feel more comfortable asking for a judicial bypass in a neighboring county instead of the county where they live. This may be for privacy reasons or because they heard that it is easier to get a judicial bypass in a neighboring county.

2. Once you decide whether you want to ask for a judicial bypass in the county where you live or a neighboring county, look up the phone number for the juvenile court here. When you call, ask to speak to the {{clerk of court}{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. To find the juvenile court clerk to contact in your area, you can look here. When you speak to the court clerk, you can ask them about getting a lawyer to help you for free.}} Tell the clerk that you are under 18 and need a court order to get an abortion without your parent’s consent. Ask them what steps you need to take to get a judicial bypass.

Courts in different counties have different processes for judicial bypass so you may receive different instructions depending on the court that you call. Here are some responses you may get from the clerk:

  • They may provide you with contact information for a lawyer to call for help. This lawyer will help walk you through the process and fill out a {{petition}{A petition is a form you fill in with information that tells the court what you are asking for}}.
  • They may tell you to come to the courthouse to fill out the petition. If this is the case, ask what you should bring with you and ask if you need to set up an appointment.
  • They may not know the answer to your question. If this happens, politely ask to be transferred to someone who does have the information.
  • They may tell you that they cannot give you legal advice or they may say that they cannot help you.

You have several options if no one at the court will help you:

  • You can contact an organization called Women Have Options/Ohio at 614-300-7811 to ask for help. Be sure to tell them what happened when you called the juvenile court.
  • You can try calling the juvenile court in a neighboring county.
  • You can fill out the petition form by yourself, bring it with you to the juvenile courthouse, and tell the clerk that you would like to file the petition. The petition (also called Form 23.1-A) and instructions for filling it out can be found starting on page 15 of this packet.

3. Once you turn in the petition for a judicial bypass, the court has to schedule a {{hearing}{a hearing is a meeting with a judge}} within 5 days, not including weekends or 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.

When you get a judicial bypass, the court is also required to assign an adult to be your {{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}}.  If you want, you can ask the court to assign your lawyer to be your guardian ad litem. Your lawyer can tell you more about how to ask the court to do this.

If you do not have a lawyer when you file your {{petition}{A petition is a form you fill in with information that tells the court what you are asking for}}, the court is required to appoint you one at least 24 hours before your {{hearing}{a hearing is a meeting with the judge}}. Your lawyer’s job is to represent you in court. That means they are there to help you ask for what you want.

The court is also required to appoint 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}}.  Sometimes the same person will serve as your lawyer and guardian ad litem.

The hearing will happen in a {{closed courtroom}{A closed courtroom means that no one will be allowed in other than you, your attorney, the judge, and a clerk}} or in the judge’s office (called the judge’s “chambers.”)

At the hearing, the judge will ask you questions. Since every judge is different, we cannot know exactly every question that a judge will ask you. We do know the judge will specifically ask you if you understand the possible risks of having an abortion, how you would handle the risks if something went wrong, and if anyone has told you how you are supposed to answer certain questions.

Judges may also 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 a judge may ask here. A judge might 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 your parent’s consent.

 

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 won’t be able to 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 must make a decision within 24 hours of your hearing, but they often make a decision right after the hearing.

If the judge agrees that you can get an abortion without your parent’s consent, you will get an {{order}{An official paper that you give to the clinic to show them that you have a judicial bypass}} from the court.  Having an order from the court means you can get an abortion in a clinic in Ohio 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. 

The next section explains what happens if the judge says you cannot get an abortion without your parent’s permission.

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 ask a higher court to change the decision}} the decision.

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

Your lawyer can talk to you about the appeal and help you understand what you need to do next. Your lawyer can help you fill out Form 23.1-C, which is available here, on page 21 of the packet. It is best to fill out the forms as soon as possible. After you turn in your appeal form, the next court will have 16 days—including weekends and holidays—to hold another hearing and make a decision.

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. 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 Ohio.

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.

You do not have to pay any money to get a judicial bypass. You can get help paying for your abortion. The clinic may be able to help you cover the cost of your abortion through an abortion fund. It is important that you tell the clinic you need financial assistance when you call to schedule an appointment.

If you still need assistance after talking to the clinic, you can try calling an abortion fund directly:

  • Women Have Options/Ohio provides funding to individual abortion clinics throughout Ohio. They may be able to help if you are at risk of missing your appointment for an abortion because you don’t have enough money or you don’t have a way to get there.
  • Midwest Access Coalition is a practical abortion fund that does not help pay for abortion procedures. Instead, they help people who need to travel within the Midwest to get an abortion with travel coordination and costs, finding a place to stay, food, medicine, and emotional support. Phone: 847-750-6224

You can find a list of abortion clinics in Ohio here. You can also use this map of abortion clinics in Ohio to figure out which clinics are closest to you.

You may need to call more than one clinic to find the right one for you, depending on how far along you are in your pregnancy and whether you need financial assistance. Some clinics may have limited services 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

You also may be able to 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 Ohio. If you are traveling to another Midwest state for an abortion, try contacting Midwest Access Coalition on their website or call 847-750-6224 for help with travel costs and coordination.

Judgment-free options counseling and after-abortion support:

  • All-Options Talkline: call 1-888-493-0092
    • The All-Options Talkline offers free peer counseling to callers from anywhere in the US or Canada. The counselors provide unconditional and judgment-free support for people in all their decisions, feelings, and experiences with pregnancy, parenting, adoption, and abortion.
  • Faith Aloud clergy counseling line: call 1-888-717-5010
    • Trained clergy from diverse faith backgrounds offer spiritual and religious support through abortion or pregnancy experiences.
  • Exhale After-Abortion Textline: text 617-749-2948
    • Exhale offers a free, national textline that provides emotional support, resources, and information to folks who have had an abortion, and to their partners, friends, allies, and family members. All texts are completely confidential and counselors offe support and respect without judgment.
    • Hours (U.S. Eastern Time):
      > Sunday 6 p.m. – 10 p.m.

>  Monday 6 p.m. – 12 a.m.
>  Tuesday 6 p.m. – 12 a.m.
>  Wednesday 6 p.m. – 12 a.m.
>  Thursday 6 p.m. – 12 a.m.

  • Connect & Breathe After-Abortion Talkline: call 1-866-647-1764
    • Connect & Breathe creates a safe space to talk about abortion experiences by offering a confidential, toll-free talkline staffed by people trained to listen and provide unbiased support and encouragement of self-care.
    • Hours (U.S. Eastern Time):
      >  Tuesdays 6 – 9 pm
      >  Wednesdays 6 – 9 pm
      >  Thursdays 6 – 9 pm
      >  Saturdays 10 am – 2 pm

Information about your legal rights and self-managed abortion: 

Other valuable hotlines:

  • Crisis Text Line
    • Text HOME to 741741 from anywhere in the United States
    • Crisis Text Line serves anyone, in any type of crisis, providing access to free, 24/7 support.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
    • call 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    • online chat available here
    • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, across the United States.
  • National Domestic Violence Hotline
    • call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or TTY 1-800-787-3224
    • online chat available here
    • The National Domestic Violence Hotline provides free, confidential, and compassionate support, crisis intervention information, education, and referral services in over 200 languages.
  • RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) – National Sexual Assault Hotline
    • call 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
    • chat online at rainn.org
    • When you call 800.656.HOPE (4673), you’ll to be routed to a local sexual assault service provider in your area. Trained staff can provide confidential support and connect you to resources in your area. Or chat online with a support specialist, any time 24/7.
  • LGBT National Youth Talkline
    • Call 800-246-7743
    • Email: [email protected]
    • The LGBT National Youth Talkline provides telephone, online private one-to-one chat and email peer-support, as well as factual information and local resources for cities and towns across the United States.
    • Check website for hours
  • The National Runaway Safeline
    • Call 800-RUNAWAY (800-786-2929)
    • Online chat function
    • Provides advice and assistance to runaways, including resources, shelter, transportation, assistance in finding counseling, and transitioning back to home life. NRS frontline staff will also act as advocates and mediators if/as needed. Help available 24/7.

 

Quick Exit Click this bar or hit ESC on your keyboard
What is this? Learn about safe browsing