↑ Return to Parental Notice Law

Parental Notice Waiver (Judicial Bypass)

Parental Notice Waiver aka “Judicial Bypass”

Under the Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion law you have the right to apply for a waiver of the parental notice requirement – otherwise known as a “judicial bypass.


Judicial bypass is when a judge gives an order that allows a minor who meets certain criteria to have an abortion without notifying an adult family member. While most minors involve their parents or guardians in their decision to end a pregnancy, some minors can’t or choose not to. The judicial bypass process protects those minors by offering them a fast, confidential alternative to notification of an adult family member.

To get a judicial bypass order, you and your lawyer must prove to a judge that you are either:

  1. Sufficiently mature and well enough informed to make an intelligent decision about whether to have an abortion. OR
  2. Notification (telling your adult family member) would not be in your best interest.

Examples of what makes a minor mature and informed:

  • you can show that you are responsible
  • you know about all your pregnancy options
  • you know about how the abortion procedure works

Examples of why notice would not be in your “best interest”:

  • your parents will kick you out
  • your parents may try to force you to go through with the pregnancy
  • you’re worried about your safety
  • you’re worried about the impact it would have on your family

As part of the judicial bypass process, you have a right to 5 things:

  1. Free Lawyer
  2. Confidentiality
  3. Fast Process and Speedy Decision
  4. Right to Appeal
  5. Guardian Ad Litem (This is an adult who is supposed to represent your interests.)


You do not have to go through this process alone. The Illinois Judicial Bypass Coordination Project has a free network of trained lawyers available to you. Once you are assigned a lawyer, you will work as a team to apply for a judicial bypass order. The conversations between you and your lawyer are confidential. Your lawyer will guide you through the process, prepare you for your hearing, answer your questions and make sure that the process is private. Your lawyer will also try their best to work with your schedule.


  1. Illinois Judicial Bypass Coodination Project. Call 877.44.BYPASS (877.442.9727), text 312.560.6607, or email judicialbypass@aclu-il.org to get connected to a lawyer in your area.
  2. Clinic Referral. Your clinic may connect you to a lawyer

If your clinic does not give you a lawyer referral CALL 877.44.BYPASS (877.442.9727).

Since the bypass process may be confusing and intimidating we STRONGLY ENCOURAGE you to use one of the free lawyers available to you. If you decide to apply for a bypass order without a lawyer or have questions about your assigned lawyer you can call the Illinois Judicial Bypass Coordination Project for information.


The judicial bypass hearing is completely confidential. This means that no one in the court will know your name or what you say during the hearing, or even that you filed an application. You have the right to file your application in any Illinois county so if you know someone who works at your local courthouse or you’re worried that someone could see you going into the courthouse you can work with your lawyer to find the best alternative location. The hearing should be held in a private location with limited access – like the private office of a judge or in an empty courtroom. The judge may ask you questions and you should try to answer them as best you can.

You can use your initials or a substitute name.


While your lawyer will work with you to figure out the best time for the hearing, there is no guarantee that the hearing will happen at a time that’s ideal for you so you may need to be flexible. The hearing doesn’t last all day. Depending on the circumstances, it could be as short as 30 minutes or as long as one hour.

You can talk to your lawyer about concerns like missing school.

After the petition is filed, the judge must make a decision within 48 hours (not including weekends). In some situations the judge may make the decision right after the hearing. If the judge agrees that you are mature and well informed or it is not in your best interest to tell an adult family member, the judicial bypass waiver will be granted. The judge will issue an order that allows you to have your abortion without telling your adult family member.

If the judge does not rule (make a decision) at the end of the hearing, the court will let your lawyer know when a decision is made. Your lawyer can either give you a copy of the judge’s order or, with your permission, give it directly to your abortion provider.

If the decision takes longer than 48 hours from the time you file your petition, your judicial bypass waiver will be considered automatically granted. Your lawyer would then make arrangements to get the necessary paperwork to your abortion provider.


If the judge does not agree that you are mature and well informed or it is not in your best interest to tell an adult family member, the judge can deny the waiver. Not all bypass waiver applications are granted. If yours is denied, your lawyer will talk with you about your right to appeal that decision with a higher court and about other rights and solutions you may have in your particular situation.


The Illinois Parental Notice of Abortion law says that the court will appoint a guardian ad litem (this is someone who is supposed to represent your interests). If you are satisfied with your lawyer, you may be able to ask the judge to have your lawyer also serve as your guardian ad litem.