National Center for Youth Law


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California: A Minor’s Right to Confidential Abortion

California minors have a constitutionally protected right to consent to abortion and to keep their reproductive information confidential.  The California legislature first authorized minors to consent to pregnancy‐related care, including abortion, in 1953.  In 1987, this right was challenged.  The state legislature passed a law that would have required a minor to get consent from a parent or guardian before terminating a pregnancy, absent a medical emergency.1 The law provided for judicial bypass, an alternative whereby minors could petition the juvenile court to determine whether the minor was mature enough to consent to an abortion, or, alternatively, that the abortion was in the minor’s best interest.