Right to counsel but no such proceeding

06/24/2022, Legislation, Bypass of Parental Input into Abortion - Minor (Pre-Dobbs)

Though a minor seeking to bypass the parental consent requirements for an abortion has the right to counsel, abortion is effectively banned in the state of Texas, except in very narrow situations.


Per Tex. Fam. Code Ann. § 33.003(e), in cases where a minor seeks judicial waiver of the parental notification and consent requirements for an abortion, the court "shall appoint an attorney to represent the minor" if the minor has not retained an attorney, and also must appoint a guardian ad litem.  A 2015 amendment to § 33.003(e) prohibits the judge from appointing the same attorney to serve as both GAL and child’s counsel.


However, since the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, 142 S.Ct. 2228 (2022), abortion seems to be banned except in narrow "life threatening" situations, Tex. Health & Safety § 170A.002, or in certain medically necessary situations under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. § 74.551, which appears to have slightly broaded access to the procedure. See HB 3058 (2023) (providing affirmative defenses for physicians in civil actions arising from alleged violations of the abortion restrictions in situations where the provider "exercised reasonable medical judgment in providing medical treatment to a pregnant [person]..."); see also Selena Simmons-Duffin, Texas has quietly changed its abortion law, NPR (Aug. 21, 2023) (stating that due to the bill, "It will no longer be illegal to terminate a pregnancy in Texas if the pregnant person's water breaks too early for the fetus to survive.").


Accordingly, even though the procedure for judicial bypass of the parental consent and notification requirement for minors seeking abortion is still "on the books," we have categorized the state of Texas as having "No such proceeding." 




Note: Since the U.S. Supreme Court decision's in Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization, 142 S.Ct. 2228 (2022), the laws governing abortion are complicated and rapidly changing.  This major development may not be current since Dobbs.  For up-to-date information about the status of abortion by state, please see Center for Reproductive Rights, After Roe Fell: Abortion Laws by State.