Abortion PA Laws

Abortion: Legal since 1973

Since the passing of Roe v. Wade, abortion has been a constitutional right.

Consultation Options

Abortion consultations are available to AWC patients both in the office and by phone.

For Teens

Minors in Pennsylvania must either obtain parental consent or a Judicial Bypass. If you’re a teenager facing a decision about pregnancy, we are here to help you.

24 Hour Waiting Period Law

Pennsylvania requires every woman seeking an abortion to receive counseling from a physician at least 24 hours before her procedure can legally begin.

“Since I would be driving 2 hours to the clinic it was so convenient to be able to have a phone call with the doctor, who was so kind and answered all of my questions.”

In the United States, modern abortion law started with the landmark Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, in which the Supreme Court held that the fundamental right to privacy extended to women’s right to abortion. This made abortion legal in every state. However, in the years since Roe, there have been many changes and challenges that have affected national and state policies. Explore our online resources page to learn more about the history and current status of national abortion policy.

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24 Hour Waiting Period Law

The Abortion PA Laws state that in Pennsylvania, abortion is legal through 24 weeks. However, there is a mandatory 24-hour waiting period between a woman’s first meeting with a physician and when she is able to obtain an abortion. This law, called the Pennsylvania Abortion Control Act, says that every woman must be provided with mandatory state-prepared information by a physician at least 24 hours before her abortion. In most cases, we can provide that legally required consultation by telephone, saving you an extra trip to the clinic, or you may prefer to come to the clinic for that consultation.

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Consultation Options

You can comply with Pennsylvania’s 24 hour waiting period law either in-person or over the phone. If you are a minor or require special accommodations, two visits may be necessary, but many women can receive a telephone call from one of our physicians and come to our office for a single-visit appointment.

If you choose to come in for an in-office consultation, your first visit will consist of some lab work, paperwork, and counseling. You will make a partial payment that day and return to AWC for your procedure 24 hours or more later. If you choose to have your consultation via phone, you will complete all of your services in one day. This will result in a longer visit the day of the procedure, but only one trip to our office.

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For Teens

Our patient advocates will help you think about your options so you can make the best decision for you. One of your biggest concerns right now may be who to tell about your pregnancy and how they might react. We encourage you to talk to a parent if you can and to involve them in your decision-making.

Mom, Dad, I’m Pregnant is an excellent website with helpful advice on having this conversation for both you and your parents.

If you feel like you can’t talk to your parents, you should talk to someone you trust and seek advice from adults you respect and feel respected by. You can also call Allentown Women’s Center and talk to us about your questions and concerns, or even schedule a Pregnancy Options Counseling appointment with a patient advocate.

In Pennsylvania, the law says that one of your parents or a legal guardian must sign a consent form if you want to have an abortion, unless you are married or emancipated. This is called “parental consent.” Usually, it’s done at the clinic when your parent or guardian accompanies you here for your first appointment.

If you cannot involve a parent or you feel like it would not be safe to do so, the law does give you an alternative, called a “Judicial Bypass,” which means having a hearing with a judge at the Juvenile Court. The court will appoint a lawyer to assist you at no charge.

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Parental Consent

On the day of your appointment, you and your parent or guardian must bring the following:

  • A picture ID for both you and your parent (This can be a driver’s license or picture ID from the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, a Medicaid identification and current medical card, or a work or school picture ID with your birth date.)
  • Your birth certificate

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Judicial Bypass

If you don’t believe that you can involve a parent, we can arrange for you to go to Juvenile Court and have a hearing with a judge. One of our patient advocates will accompany you and guide you through this process. The judge decides if you’re mature enough to make this decision by yourself. In our experience, the judges we’ve worked with have determined the teens we’ve brought before them to be mature enough. The court appoints an attorney for your case at no cost to you. The entire process is confidential. When the judge grants you a bypass, you’ll get a “document of approval,” which gives you the right to have an abortion without parental consent.

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