If you have questions that aren’t on this page, you can always text us, email us, or talk to your attorney.
Will it cost me anything to meet with the lawyer or judge?
No. The lawyers we match you with are free, and so are the court’s lawyers. It’s your constitutional right to have one.
Will this info be private?
Oh yeah. Everything you share with your attorney is confidential, so they can’t tell anyone without your permission. In fact, the judge won’t even know your full name.
Will my parents ever find out?
Not unless your application is denied. Then the judge may tell your parents, so you’re taking a slight risk here.
What if I already set my court date but forgot to contact a volunteer attorney?Don’t sweat it. The court will appoint you an attorney for free.
Are translators available?
Yep. Usually the court will get you one, but we can if they don’t.
Do you have copies of the guide in other languages?
A Spanish language version of the guide can be accessed here.
I’m not sure if I want an abortion.
Judicial bypass does not force you to get an abortion. Even if you’re unsure, it’s best to go through the process so you have the option before it’s too late. In Louisiana you can only get an abortion before you’ve been pregnant for 20 weeks (about 5 months)
How will I get to the courthouse?
Orleans Parish Juvenile Court is near City Park at 1100-B Milton Street. Your attorney can help you figure out transportation or you can find public transit information at www.norta.com. We can get you a bus pass if you can’t afford one. You can also try asking a trusted friend or family member for a ride.
What do I wear to court?
Wear something comfortable but remember you want to show yourself in the best light possible. If you have questions about what to wear, talk with your lawyer!
I’m not sure if I want an abortion.
Judicial bypass does not force you to get an abortion. Even if you’re unsure, it’s best to go through the process so you have the option before it’s too late. In Louisiana you can only get an abortion before you’ve been pregnant for 20 weeks (about 5 months).
I’m not allowed to skip school.
The court can give you an absence excuse that won’t say anything about why you were there.
I don’t live near a clinic.
You have to go to court in one of the 3 parishes that has an abortion clinic: Orleans, Caddo, and Baton Rouge. We will work with you to figure out transportation if you’ll have to travel far.
Who will be at the hearing?
The judge, your lawyer, the court reporter, and whoever you bring. The reporter just writes down everything said during the hearing. Courts always do this so the case can be revisited if needed.
Will the judge harass me?
Judges take your situation seriously and should treat you with respect. Your attorney will be there with you to ensure that you are not harassed. If you feel mistreated by the judge, your or your attorney can file a complaint with the state.
What does the judge have to decide?
The judge wants to see that you’re mature and informed enough and that no one is forcing you to make this decision. If they do not think you’re mature enough, they will decide if an abortion is in your best interest.
What kinds of questions will I have to answer?
They’ll ask you if you understand the procedure, have thought about it, and are making your own choice. Sometimes they’ll ask personal questions to help determine your maturity. Don’t be surprised if they ask about your responsibilities like school or chores, how you got pregnant, your relationship with your parents, or about the father.
How long until I get the result?
It’s pretty quick. The judge must schedule a hearing within 4 days of when you hand in the application. After the hearing, the judge will probably tell you right away. If not, they have to tell you within 48 hours.
What happens after the judge approves my application?
The rest is pretty easy! The judge will sign a form that shows their approval and you’ll bring that to the clinic when you get the abortion.
What if I change my mind?
Then don’t go back to the clinic. Even if you went through judicial bypass, NO ONE can force you to do anything with your pregnancy.
What if the judge says no?
Your attorney will help you file an appeal which means another judge will reconsider your application
I feel alone and afraid.
It’s normal to feel this way. Unexpected pregnancy is stressful and going to court makes it even more complicated. Try talking to an adult or friend that you trust. Or talk to us! We have a confidential phone number you can text at any time 504.535.5277. There are more resources on our Helpful Organizations page.