Texas Bill Amending Judicial Bypass Requirements Regarding Abortions for Minors (HB 3994)

Last updated: Mar 27, 2015

This law is Anti-Choice




HB 3994


Signed into Law


Informed Consent, Parental Involvement

Full Bill Text


HB 3994 amends existing law regarding the notice and informed consent of abortions. (Family Code §33.002.) Physicians are required to assume that a pregnant woman is a minor unless she presents a valid government I.D. showing she is an adult.

The law makes it more difficult for minors seeking judicial bypass to waive parental consent.  HB 3994 requires minors seeking judicial bypass to appear in person at court rather than through other methods such as teleconference or videoconference.

HB 3994 adds more factors to the list of options a court might consider in determining if a minor meets the requirements for judicial bypass.  These include:

  • the minor’s age;
  • the minor’s life experiences (working, traveling, finances);
  • steps taken by the minor to explore her options; and
  • the minor’s decision not to notify and obtain consent from her parent/guardian.

The bill requires a minor to file a petition for judicial bypass in the minor’s county of residence unless the county population is less than 10,000 in which case the minor may file a petition in a neighboring county or in the county where the facility at which the minor intends to have the abortion is located. If the minor is not a resident of the state, she may file a petition in the county where the abortion facility is located. Existing law permits the minor to file in any county so that, for example, minors in rural areas can avoid being recognized at the courthouse.

The application for judicial bypass must include a statement about the minor’s residence, including the minor’s physical address, mailing address, and telephone number.

The bill removes the provision deeming a petition automatically granted if the judge doesn’t issue a ruling within the specified time period.

The bill changes the evidentiary standard for a judge deciding whether or not a minor is sufficiently mature to have an abortion without parental consent or notification from “preponderance of the evidence” to “clear and convincing evidence.”

The bill also adds a section prohibiting a minor who has already obtained a determination by the court that she may not waive parental consent or notification from refiling a petition to institute a new proceeding.

As reported by RH Reality Check, HB 3994:

  • limits the location and type of court in which a minor can seek an abortion;
  • forces the minor to reveal her home address and telephone number to a judge;
  • prevents the minor from removing her application for a judicial bypass after she has filed it with the court;
  • mandates that a physician who provides abortion care to a minor who says they have been sexually assaulted or abused report that sexual assault, and the identity of the suspected abuser, to law enforcement regardless of whether the minor wants to report their assault or feels it is safe to do so;
  • mandates that a judge who hears a judicial bypass case in which a minor says they are being abused must report that abuse to law enforcement, along with the identity of the suspected abuser, regardless of whether the minor wants to report their abuse or feels it is safe to do so;
  • gives a judge five business days, rather than two days, before they must rule on the judicial bypass application; and
  • presumes that if a judge does not rule on the judicial bypass, that permission for the minor’s abortion is denied.


Signed into law by Gov. Abbott on June 12, 2015. Goes into effect on January 1, 2016.