By: Heather Allison, Policy Associate
In Texas, unemancipated minors (people under 18 who are unmarried and haven’t been emancipated by a court order) are unable to consent to their own medical care. This means that a parent or guardian must agree before a doctor can perform any medical treatment or prescribe any medication. Youth in foster care are assigned a medical consenter who can consent to medical tests, treatment, procedures, or prescriptions. Medical consenters are usually caregivers or a caseworker and a member of CPS staff.
If you are in foster care and seeking birth control, you can start by asking your doctor or a doctor at a Medicaid approved family planning clinic. (Find a provider here.) It is the doctor’s responsibility to make sure that your medical consenter consents to the birth control care, but you are always welcome to talk to them about it first – they might be able to share some resources with you or help you find a clinic. Your medical consenter cannot try to prevent you from seeking contraceptive care.
People under 18 can access birth control at no cost without a medical consenter at a Title X clinic. You can find a Title X clinic here – when you call and make the appointment, be sure to say that you need a confidential appointment for birth control and you don’t have money to pay. Teens cannot be refused service at a Title X clinic!
If you are in foster care and seeking an abortion, the only person who can consent is your parent or legal guardian. Your medical consenter cannot provide consent for your abortion care. This means that unless you are in a position to get consent from your parent or legal guardian, you will have to go through the judicial bypass process. A judicial bypass is permission from a judge that will allow you to get an abortion without your parents’ consent.
You can read more about the judicial bypass process here, and you can always text or call Jane’s Due Process’s confidential hotline (866.999.5263) with questions. If you are pregnant and aren’t able to get consent from your parent or legal guardian for an abortion, you can call our hotline and we will help you get your judicial bypass. You can take a look at the questions we’ll ask during the call here. You’ll also need to make an appointment for an ultrasound and initial consultation – you can find your nearest clinic here.
These steps might seem overwhelming, but Jane’s Due Process is here to help you through every step of the process. We will make sure you can get the healthcare you need!
If you have concerns about your sexual and reproductive health, our volunteer advocates are available 24/7 at 866-999-5263 and by text 8am-11pm CT to support you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you need help accessing contraception, STI testing & treatment, or abortion in Texas.