Denials of Judicial Bypass Petitions for Abortion in Texas Before and After the 2016 Bypass Process Change: 2001-2018

Am J Public Health. 2020 Mar;110(3):351-353. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2019.305491. Epub 2020 Jan 16.


Objectives. To estimate the percentage of Texas judicial bypass petitions for abortion denied annually from 2001 to 2018, and to assess whether that fraction changed after the state's 2016 bypass process change.Methods. Because official statistics on Texas judicial bypass case counts and outcomes are only available for 2016 and later, we systematically reviewed monthly internal reports from Jane's Due Process (JDP), an organization providing legal representation to pregnant minors seeking bypass from 2001 to 2018. We report numbers and percentages of JDP cases denied for 2001 to 2018 and numbers and percentages of all cases denied from official Texas statistics for 2016 to 2018 (all available years).Results. At least 1 denial occurred in 11 out of 15 years observed before the bypass law changed in Texas (percentages = 0%-6.2%). After Texas made its bypass process more restrictive, the percentage denied increased (from 2.8% in 2015 to 10.3% in 2016 among JDP cases).Conclusions. We found the greatest percentages of judicial bypass for abortion petitions denied after the policy was implemented and after the bypass process changed. Judicial bypass for abortion may expose pregnant minors to judicial veto of their abortion decision.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Legal / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Adolescent
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Judicial Role*
  • Minors / legislation & jurisprudence*
  • Parental Consent / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Pregnancy
  • Texas