Jane is a minor, under the age of 18, in Texas.
Jane can be any gender.
We’re using the name Jane because Jane Doe is the name assigned by the court to judicial bypass cases to keep the person’s identify confidential.
What are some reasons some Janes can’t get consent from a parent or legal to access safe, legal abortion care?
- Jane’s father was never around and lives out of state. Jane doesn’t even know how to contact him. Jane’s mom died, and asked her own mother to take care of Jane. Jane’s grandmother was never officially named legal guardian, however, and won’t take the time or spend the money to get that status. Grandmother, without that legal status, cannot give consent for the procedure.
- Jane’s parents abuse drugs, sometimes disappearing for days at a time. They often forget to buy groceries. If they thought Jane had the money to be able to afford an abortion, they would take it from her.
- Jane’s parents learned Jane was transgender and kicked Jane out of the house. Jane is living on the street. Jane’s parents will not speak with Jane, let alone sign a legal document. And Jane’s ID does not reflect Jane’s gender expression.
- Jane’s mom lives in another state, and Jane’s dad is in a Texas Department of Corrections facility hundreds of miles away. Jane cannot get there to get consent from him in jail.
- Jane’s parents are undocumented. They are afraid to sign any official paperwork, for fear of deportation, and Jane does not want to put the family risk.
- Jane’s father has been molesting Jane since she was 11 years old. When she told her mom, her mom beat her, accused her of lying, and threatened to kick her out. The mother thinks Jane is lying about being pregnant.
- Jane’s parents’ religious beliefs mean they are unwilling to give consent for an abortion, even though Jane’s own religious beliefs are different.
There are many difficult circumstances that can make a young Texan a Jane, and these are just some of them. The law cannot anticipate all of those reasons, which is why the legislature, guided by federal law and Supreme Court precedent, put the judicial bypass procedure in place.
If the bypass law becomes so onerous that Janes cannot get access to legal abortion care, what options are left?
- Unsafe, unregulated abortions – Janes might order drugs from an internet pharmacy, or buy them just across the border in Mexico. Janes might or might not get proper instructions on how to use the drugs, and might not be early enough in their pregnancies for the drugs to work properly. Here’s an article: The Rise of the DIY Abortion in Texas.
- Crossing state lines – Janes might opt to cross into another state to get an abortion. That will mean spending much more money, and the time taken to raise that money will mean the pregnancy is even further along. Janes often travel to a city where they can get an abortion, but have only enough money for the procedure and a bus trip home. They might end up sleeping on the street or in the bus station, or they might arrive only to find out it is too late to get the procedure at all. Here’s an article about the experience of having to leave the state: Texas Abortion Ban Forces Sick Women Out of State