What is judicial bypass?
Utah law requires unmarried, unemancipated, pregnant minors under 18 who are seeking an abortion to have the permission of one of their parents. Judicial bypass is the process where minors can bypass their parents' consent in order to receive an abortion.
The first step is petitioning the juvenile court. The petition is like an application that asks about your personal information and reasons why you want to get an abortion without involving your parents. Your attorney will help write the petition and turn it into the court. The court must schedule a hearing within 3 days of turning in the petition.
Click here for the petition.
A hearing is a meeting with you, your attorney, a judge, and other court employees. The judge will ask you questions to make sure that you have given informed consent to the abortion and that you are mature and capable of giving consent. The judge will also ask questions to determine whether an abortion would be in your best interest.
If the court decides that you are mature or the abortion is in your best interest, the court may grant your petition and you may get the abortion. However, the doctor who is going to perform the abortion must still notify your parent or guardian 24 hours before the procedure if you do not fall under a specific exemption.
Know Your Rights
- If you are not already represented by an attorney, the court may appoint an attorney and/or a guardian ad litem. A guardian ad litem is an attorney who works for the court and who will represent your best interests as a minor.
- The court must schedule a hearing and make a decision within 3 days of turning in your petition, and may only continue the hearing for 1 day if they need more evidence to make a decision.
- The hearing is not open to the public. Only you, your attorney (if you have one), the judge, the court reporter (a court employee who writes everything down), a guardian ad litem (if appointed), and anyone who you invite are allowed at the hearing.
- The judge must enter a decision immediately after the hearing is over.
- If your petition is dismissed or denied, you and your attorney have 30 days to file a notice of appeal.
- All of the proceedings are confidential. The court is not allowed to tell your parents or anyone else that you are pregnant, want to have an abortion, and petitioned the court for a judicial bypass.
How Utah Judicial Bypass Project Can Help
We have attorneys who are familiar with the judicial bypass process who can you help fill out the petition, represent you at the hearing, and ensure the court is following the law. See our How We Can Help and FAQs pages for more information.