Judicial bypass up in the air after Roe v. Wade overturn
After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, a legal process for teen girls seeking abortion is now up in the air.
Judicial bypass allows some qualifying young women 18 and younger to request a judge's permission for an abortion without parental consent. But because the state is expected to totally ban abortion within the next 30 days, it’s leaving those teen girls in a difficult position.
In 1979, the Supreme Court struck down a Massachusetts law that required all minors seeking abortion to have consent from both parents.
That ruling led to the creation of a nationwide exemption law called judicial bypass for states that have parental involvement laws. Texas is one of those states.
“The judge would have to make their decision based on whether it was in the best interest of the minor and or whether the judge felt that the minor was mature enough to make this decision,” said Hidalgo County 449th Judicial Court Judge Renee Rodriguez-Betancourt, a South Texas juvenile justice.
After interpreting the complexity of this law, Rodriguez-Betancourt says many times, the judicial pass would be used for girls who would become pregnant by sexual assault.
More records obtained by Channel 5 show a list of other reasons why a young person would seek judicial bypass, including:
- Fearing physical, emotional or sexual abuse
- Parent or guardian would force them to continue the pregnancy -
- Parent or guardian is suffering from mental illness or addiction, is incarcerated, or is in crisis
The Texas nonprofit, Jane’s Due Process, is responsible for servicing and supporting young people and state courts in navigating the judicial bypass process. They have paused all services due to the Supreme Court’s recent decision.
“That doesn't just go for the state of Texas, it also goes for many other states that had the judicial bypass procedure or process,” Rodriguez-Betancourt said.
As of now, 36 states have a judicial bypass procedure.
Currently, state and local organizations that would provide funding for out-of-state travel for abortions have also paused their services for assistance.
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