What is Judicial Bypass?
Judicial Bypass is an alternative to the Louisiana Law that requires all minors (under 18) to have written permission from a parent or guardian to get an abortion. If your parent or guardian is unwilling or unavailable to discuss your pregnancy options, a judge can approve your abortion request. You’ll be able to meet with a judge in the parish where you live or the parish where you’ll have an abortion.
Before starting the process, let’s review your rights. These are important to know before going to court. This may feel stressful, but don’t forget that you are capable of making this decision and are always entitled to these rights.
1. Complete intake form to be matched with an attorney
- We have a team of volunteer attorneys who are familiar with this particular law. We’ll match you with one within 24 hours.
- Our attorneys will be easier to work with than a court-appointed one since they do this all the time.
- Your attorney can help you with anything throughout the process such as filling out forms, preparing for the hearing, working out transportation, finding a clinic, or setting up financial support. They can meet and talk before you go to court.
2. Get pregnancy documentation from a clinic
- The law requires a medical visit, counseling session, and ultrasound before getting an abortion. You can do this all at a clinic.
- The ultrasound will determine the age of the fetus and confirm that you’re pregnant. A physician will give you a written document with this information.
- It’s easiest to go to the same clinic that will perform the abortion later. If you go to any other clinic, you will have to get a second ultrasound before your abortion.
- The pre-abortion consultation and ultrasound usually cost around $150. Some clinics waive these costs for minors. If not, we can provide financial assistance if you let us know you need it.
3. Fill out application
- Download here!
- Fill out as much as you can, then bring it to court with you. Your attorney will help you complete the application.
4. Go to court to set hearing date
- Unfortunately, you’ll have to go to court twice: once to drop off your application and again for the hearing.
- Bring your completed judicial bypass application (step 3)
- Make plans with your volunteer attorney to meet there.
- The clerk (judge’s assistant) will give you a date and time to come back within the next 4 days. We work with the court, so they know what’s going on and how to help you.
- The application costs $150 but…don’t worry!
- If you can’t afford it, there’s this fancy option called “in Forma Pauperis” which gets rid of the fee. Talk to your volunteer attorney if you want to file “in Forma Pauperis”. And don’t stress about it—the court knows most young people can’t afford to pay.
5. The hearing
- Return to court on the assigned date and time
What to expect in the courthouse:
1. The clerk will take you to a waiting room
2. The judge will privately meet with you in his office or in a closed courtroom.
3.Your attorney will be there during the hearing. They’ll present your application.
4. The judge will ask you a few questions to make sure you know what’s going on and are making this decision on your own. It’ll be more like a conversation, not like a trial.
5. The judge decides. If they approve the request, they’ll sign an order that allows you to get an abortion. You must bring that order to the clinic when you get the abortion.
If you have more questions, check out our Common Questions & Concerns page or contact us.