TextAbby service helps teenage girls get abortions in North Carolina and South Carolina

Text Abby, a service provided by the Carolina Abortion Fund and the ACLU of North Carolina, helps teens navigate the process of obtaining a court waiver and circumventing parental consent to have an abortion.

Text Abby, a service provided by the Carolina Abortion Fund and the ACLU of North Carolina, helps teens navigate the process of obtaining a court waiver and circumventing parental consent to have an abortion.

Dreamtime via TNS


Post-Roe: What happens now?


North Carolina is one of 35 states where anyone under 18 seeks an abortion has two options: get permission from a parent or legal guardian or get a court waiver.

TextAbby, a free and confidential text line operated by the Carolina Abortion Fund, guides teens through the process of applying for a court waiver. The volunteers then connect the teenagers with lawyers who can help them.

The text line, which is operated in partnership with the ACLU of North Carolina, operates from 9 a.m. to noon daily.

Deborah Effon, a member of the fund’s board of directors, said Text Abby had been operational for three years, but was seeing increased demand following the June 24 US Supreme Court ruling of cancel Roe v. Wade.

The text line, 844-997-2229, helps those in North and South Carolina, Effon said.

In South Carolina, Republican lawmakers have pushed for additional restrictions on abortions, and a federal judge’s ruling this week puts into effect a six-week abortion ban, the state newspaper reported. Columbia.

Nearly 2 in 3 teenage girls ages 15 to 19 learn they are pregnant at six weeks or later, according to a study published by the University of California, San Francisco.

The ACLU of North Carolina expects to see an increase in South Carolina teenagers contacting Text Abby for help, legal director Kristi Graunke told the Charlotte Observer.

Teenagers in South Carolina will be particularly affected by the restrictions North Carolina has put in place for abortion, Graunke said.

The restrictions include mandatory state counseling and a 72-hour waiting period, making it difficult for those traveling to North Carolina from another state, she said.

“It’s going to be a huge tax on, we’re talking about (what) we’ve seen in other states, people as young as 10 who need abortion care,” Graunke said. “So just understanding how very young some people can be when they’re in this situation where they have to make a very tough decision about what’s right for them.”

The process for teens to obtain these court waivers will remain unchanged despite the overturning of Roe v. Wade because it’s codified in North Carolina law, Graunke said.

A common misconception about court waivers, Graunke said, is that minors use them to obtain abortions in “fancy ways.” However, that is not true, she says.

To obtain a waiver of parental consent and judicial authorization to perform an abortion, a minor must present:

they are sufficiently mature and well informed to make the decision to abort themselves;

that it would be in their best interest that parental consent not be required;

or are victims of rape or criminal incest under North Carolina law.

“This is not a rubber stamp procedure, and you can imagine how difficult it can be for young people who appear in court (because) they are already (in) a very scary and difficult time for a lot of people,” Graunke said.

The annulment of Roe v. Wade will mean fewer teenagers will have access to abortions in their home country, Graunke said, but they can still get court waivers in North Carolina.

If someone doesn’t reside in the state, that doesn’t necessarily preclude them from seeking a court waiver, Graunke said. They just need to be present in the county they applied for, for their hearing.

“Hopefully we in North Carolina will be able to help people coming from out of state to give them a safe place to make those tough decisions and pursue that care,” Graunke said.

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Kallie Cox covers public safety for The Charlotte Observer. They grew up in Springfield, Illinois and attended school at SIU Carbondale. They reported on police accountability and barriers to LGBTQ immigration for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. And, they previously worked at the Southern Illinoisan before moving to Charlotte.

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