By Eleanor Grano, Community Outreach and Youth Engagement Coordinator at Jane’s Due Process
Jane’s Due Process offers free legal representation to young people in Texas who want to get an abortion but can’t involve a parent or legal guardian in their decision. If you decide to contact us for help, you can expect to receive immediate, unbiased and non-judgmental information about your options on whether to get an abortion or continue your pregnancy.
The intake process for a judicial bypass on our hotline takes about 20-25 minutes. Here are some phrases and questions that you will be asked during your intake.
“Thanks for reaching out.”
If you haven’t told anyone that you are experiencing an unintended pregnancy, you may feel anxious about reaching out for help. However, the services that we offer are free and completely confidential. Additionally, our volunteer advocates who answer our hotline are trained to counsel young people about their pregnancy options. These options include the right to parent, place a child for adoption, or seek an abortion.
Calling our 24/7 hotline to get information about judicial bypass is the first step toward accessing an abortion without consent from a parent or legal guardian, and we are proud to serve as a pregnancy resource for young people in Texas.
“What is your name, age, date of birth, and preferred pronouns?”
At the beginning of your intake, you will be asked for your name. It’s important for your confidentiality that you only provide your first name. You will next be asked your age, date of birth, and preferred pronouns.
We ask you for your age and date of birth to confirm that you are a minor. A judicial bypass for abortion is only a requirement for people who are under 18. If you are not a minor and need financial assistance, the National Network of Abortion Funds can connect you to your nearest local abortion fund and/or practical support fund.
“How did you hear about us?”
We are interested in learning how you heard about our organization, because we want to know how well we are educating young people on their reproductive rights. Your answer to this question can help us learn what we’re doing that is or isn’t working, and help us improve our campaigns.
“What is your city and county of residence?”
The state of Texas requires that a minor apply for a judicial bypass in their county of residence. The exception to this rule is if the population of your county of residence is under 10,000. This means that if you live in a county where there are less than 10,000 people, you are allowed to file in a neighboring county or the county where you will have your abortion. You are also allowed to apply for a judicial bypass in a different county if your parent or legal guardian is a judge.
Find your county of residence here.
“What is a safe phone number to reach you? Is it okay to leave a voicemail or send texts?”
In order to maintain your confidentiality, it’s critical that you provide us with a phone number that is safe to communicate with you during the entire judicial bypass process. If you do not have a safe phone number for us to contact you, you can share with us a phone number of a trusted friend or family member, your preferred social media handle, WhatsApp, Signal, or Google Hangouts.
If you are concerned that someone might be monitoring your calls or internet usage, remember to delete our number from your call history and clear your search history after visiting our website or social media accounts.
“How many weeks pregnant are you? Was your pregnancy confirmed at a clinic?”
It’s important to know how far along you are in your pregnancy because the state of Texas bans abortion at 20 weeks. By knowing the number of weeks you are, our client services manager can help you determine whether you can have a medication or surgical abortion. They can also help expedite your judicial bypass case if you are close to the week limit.
If you confirmed your pregnancy using an at-home pregnancy test, you can calculate how many weeks you are by counting the number of weeks that have passed since your last menstrual cycle. This pregnancy calculator can help you determine how far along you are in your pregnancy.
“Why are you applying for a judicial bypass?”
Jane’s Due Process recognizes that young people do not need to give a reason for why they’ve chosen to not include a parent or a legal guardian in their decision. However, the state of Texas requires that a minor must demonstrate a “preponderance of evidence” in order to prove that they are mature and well informed to consent to their own abortion or that it is not in their best interest to involve a parent or legal guardian in their decision to have an abortion.
When you share with us the reason why you are applying for a judicial bypass, it will help your lawyer know the best way to begin preparing your case. Additionally, the lawyer assigned to your case will need to know if you are currently employed, if you are enrolled in school, if you’ve had a previous pregnancy, if you were using birth control during the time of conception, barriers you may have experienced in accessing contraception or reason for not using contraception, medications that you are currently taking, and your relationship with your parent(s) or legal guardian.
We understand that these questions are invasive. If you do not feel comfortable sharing this information with a volunteer advocate during your intake, you have the right to decline to answer.
“Will you need financial support to pay for your abortion?”
If your judicial bypass is approved by a judge it means that you will be given the freedom to consent to your own abortion. However, if you are concerned about being able to pay for your abortion, we can help with that too! Our client services manager can support you by applying for grants from local and national abortion funds to cover the costs of your abortion. So, don’t hesitate to ask!
“Is there anything else I can help you with?”
Perhaps over the course of our conversation, you thought of another question, or maybe you feel more comfortable asking something you initially felt too scared to ask in the beginning. A Jane’s Due Process volunteer advocate can answer any questions related to getting an abortion or judicial bypass process.
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 an abortion in Texas.