If you are under the age of 18 and wish to have an abortion in North Carolina, there are two options. The first is to have your parent, legal custodian or grandparent (with whom you have been living for the past six months) give consent to the physician.
If this is not possible, the second option is to obtain a judicial waiver of parental consent. You do not have to seek consent from your parents first before attempting to obtain the waiver. If you seek a judicial waiver, the process is completely confidential and, if you make a specific request in your petition, your parents will not be notified of the petition.
To obtain a judicial waiver, you may petition the district court judge in the county in which you reside or in the county in which you are physically present at the time you file the petition. Either you or a guardian ad-litem may petition the court for a waiver on your behalf. Additionally, you will have the right to court appointed counsel. A hearing should be scheduled within seven (7) days of the date the petition is filed, unless you decide to ask for more time.
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At the time of the hearing, the only people who should be in attendance are you, your attorney (if you choose to have one), the Judge, a court clerk and anyone you decide to bring with you. According to North Carolina statute, at the hearing, the Judge will hear evidence regarding:
- your emotional development, maturity, intellect, and understanding;
- the nature, possible consequences, and alternatives to the abortion; and
- any other evidence that the court may find useful in determining whether the parental consent requirement shall be waived.
A Judge will grant the request if he or she finds that:
- you are mature and well-informed enough to make the abortion decision on your own; or
- it would be in your best interests that parental consent not be required; or
- you are a victim of rape or of felonious incest under G.S. 14-178.