State law mandates minors seeking abortion care to notify both parents, even if the minor has an abusive relationship and hasn’t involved the authorities, or no relationship, with one or both of their parents. The only alternative for minors who cannot notify both parents is to go through the court system. Even if a minor can notify both their parents, they may be required to jump through bureaucratic hoops to prove the parental relationship, like gathering birth certificates. Because it’s a crime to violate this law, providers go to great lengths to comply, and if patients don’t have the right paperwork they have to go through the court system. Minors are not mandated by law to notify parents for any other medical decisions related to pregnancy, including giving birth.
Signed into law: 1981
A majority of minors who have abortions do consult their parents, but those who do not voluntarily consult a parent typically have good reason not to. Some live in volatile or dysfunctional family situations and may fear abuse. Others may live in households where drugs or alcohol are abused and fear exacerbating the situation. Forcing our young people who cannot turn to their parents to go to court and reveal the details of their private lives to strangers can cause fear, anxiety, and shame. In fact, anti-abortion activists in Minnesota have sat in the court hallways and used yearbooks from local high schools to identify and expose young people who came in for judicial waivers.