Judicial Bypass Wiki

South Carolina’s 6 week ban has been blocked by a court and is not in effect. This means doctors in the state can provide abortions up to 20 weeks of pregnancy, but some clinics might not be providing up to 20 weeks.

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

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

  • get counseling with a clinic;
  • wait 24 hours after getting counseling before they can have the abortion.

All abortions must be performed before 20 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 South Carolina, 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.

South Carolina makes people under age 17 get written permission from a parent, grandparent, or a {{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. A person who is acting {{in loco parentis}{Acting in loco parentis means an adult is taking care of you like a parent would, even though they are not your actual parent. Unlike a legal guardian, this adult may not have an official order from the court saying that they have a duty to care for you}} for at least 60 days can also give you permission. 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 South Carolina, you need consent from only one parent, grandparent, or guardian.

If you cannot or do not want to tell your parent, grandparent, 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 or an {{emancipated minor}{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}}, you can get an abortion without consent from a parent or getting a judicial bypass.

In South Carolina, only your parent, grandparent, {{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 an adult acting {{in loco parentis}{Acting in loco parentis means an adult is taking care of you like a parent would, even though they are not your actual parent. Unlike a legal guardian, this adult may not have an official order from the court saying that they have a duty to care for you}} can consent to you having an abortion.

If your parent, grandparent 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.

If an adult acting in loco parentis gives you permission, they must also write a statement describing their relationship to you, including how long they have been taking care of you.

Contact the clinic you would like to go to for more information about how an adult can give consent for 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 circuit {{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}} or family court clerk 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. You can start by contacting the clinic that you would like to go to. Clinics have the most up to date information and can connect you with a lawyer for free. Your lawyer will take care of the steps in the judicial bypass process, including filing the {{petition}{A petition is a form you fill in with information that tells the court what you are asking for}}, scheduling a {{hearing}{a hearing is a meeting with a judge}} with a judge, and representing you at the hearing.

2. You also have the option to start the judicial bypass process on your own. The process is free. The petition form you will need to fill out is available here.

  • This form is where you tell the court you would like an attorney for free.
  • 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}}. The court will consider your preferences when assigning you a guardian ad litem. This form is where you can list a supportive adult who you would like to be your guardian ad litem.
  • Your attorney may also be able to help you find a guardian ad litem as well.

If you have questions about filling out the form, you can contact an abortion clinic or a {{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.

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.

  1. Once you have filled out a petition, you turn it in to any circuit court or family court. To find the circuit court or family court in your area, you can look here.

After the court receives your petition, the judge will schedule a hearing within 72 hours (3 days) after you turn in your petition.

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 answering questions in court.

At the {{hearing}{a hearing is a meeting with a judge}}, your lawyer will ask you questions to help explain to the judge why you want a judicial bypass. Since every judge is different, we cannot know exactly what information a judge will want to know.

Judges may want to know your age, whether you have had a job or other responsibilities, 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 questions about your health and want to know 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 want to know why you want or need an abortion, and want to make sure that no one is forcing you into making a particular decision.

You can find a list of 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 wants to know. Your lawyer can help you with this. The judge may also ask your guardian ad litem why they think you are able to the decision to have an abortion on your own.

Right 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 a 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 right away. If the judge agrees that you can get an abortion without telling your parents, 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 South Carolina 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.

The form you need to fill out to appeal is not available online. But you must fill out the form within 72 hours (3 days) after the first court tells you that you cannot get an abortion without your parent’s permission.

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 can get help paying for your abortion. Your clinic can help you cover the cost of your abortion through an abortion fund:

 

Carolina Abortion Fund

https://www.carolinaabortionfund.org/

855-518-4603

You can find a map of abortion clinics in South Carolina here. You can also visit the Planned Parenthood website to find a clinic near you by clicking here.

 

Greenville Women’s Clinic

1142 Grove Rd.

Greenville, SC 29605

 

Planned Parenthood – Charleston Health Center

1312 Ashley River Rd.

Charleston, SC 29407

 

Planned Parenthood – Columbia Health Center

2712 Middleburg Dr., Suite 107

Columbia, SC 29204

 

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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