Judicial Bypass for Minors Seeking Abortions in Arkansas Versus Other States

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Abstract

Objectives

To describe demographic characteristics and abortion timing of minors in Arkansas who obtained an abortion through a judicial bypass, and to contrast the frequency of judicial bypass in other states in the United States.

Methods

We used individual-level data on all abortions to minors (n = 2624) performed in Arkansas from 2005 to 2014 and aggregated data from 10 additional states on abortions obtained through a judicial bypass. We characterized correlates of the judicial bypass and its association with the timing of abortion.

Results

Minors in Arkansas who used the courts were more likely to be 17 years of age, nonresidents of Arkansas, Hispanic, and with fewer previous pregnancies than their younger, resident, non-Hispanic White, and multigravida counterparts; 7.7% of abortions to minors were obtained via a bypass in 11 states, but only 2% if Texas and Arkansas are excluded.

Conclusions

The demographics of minors who obtain an abortion through a judicial bypass differ significantly from those who have parental consent, and there is widespread variation in the proportion of bypass cases across states.

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