Press enter to search

Parental-involvement laws take two forms: Some require young people to notify their parents before having an abortion, while others require explicit permission.

Many young women who face an unintended pregnancy are able to turn to their parents or guardians for help and support. But some women may reasonably fear the repercussions of involving their parents, especially if they come from violent or emotionally abusive homes, or are victims of rape or incest.

In these circumstances, parental-involvement laws can put young people in danger.

In some instances, telling abusive parents about an unplanned pregnancy can lead to further family violence. Fear of talking to parents about an unintended pregnancy may cause a young person to delay seeking medical care, which increases medical risk. In the most dire of circumstances, some young people may resort to a dangerous and illegal method of abortion.

Young women have even attempted suicide rather than disclose their unintended pregnancies.1

These are some of the reasons why the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics both oppose mandatory parental involvement for young women seeking abortion care.2

The Supreme Court has ruled that parental-involvement laws must include some form of bypass procedure. But this is an inadequate alternative for young people who may find the process of obtaining judicial bypass overwhelming or impossible to navigate—especially without a lawyer.

North Carolina has a long history of restricting abortion access for minors. In 1977, the General Assembly passed a law stating that minors could not consent to an abortion. In 1995, they allowed that minors could get an abortion, but only with written parental consent, or petition the court for a judicial bypass to that consent.

In 2015, the General Assembly also passed a law that minors cannot work at any clinics that provide abortions.

Parental-involvement laws won’t reduce the frequency of abortion in this country, as anti-choice politicians may claim. And we should not be forcing young people to disclose to their parents/guardians about reproductive health decisions if they do not feel safe doing so. All young people should be equipped with comprehensive sex education—and, for those who are sexually active, access to birth control—so they can prevent unintended pregnancies.

Click here for more information on judicial bypass in North Carolina.

2 American Academy of Pediatrics, Adolescent’s Right to Confidential Care When Considering Abortion


NARAL Pro-Choice North Carolina

We fight for a future that includes access to all reproductive health care no matter your zip code, income or employer. North Carolina can be a leader in reproductive rights, health and justice. Will you join us?