107 Kids and the Law What if the minor does not want to tell her parent or guardian she is pregnant? If the minor does not want to tell her parent or guardian, she can apply to the Superior Court in any county to ask for permission to have an abortion. What if the minor asks her parent or guardian, but does not get their consent? If the minor’s parent or guardian does not consent to an abortion, the minor can apply to the Superior Court in any county to ask for permission to have an abortion. The judge will allow the minor to get an abortion if the judge finds that she is “mature and capable of giving informed consent to the proposed abortion.” What if the judge decides the minor is not “mature”? If the judge decides the minor is not mature, the judge can still grant permis- sion for the abortion if the judge finds the proposed abortion is in the minor’s best interests. How does the judge decide whether a minor is “mature”? The judge determines whether a minor is “mature” by asking her questions about her life and how she came to the decision to have an abortion. Generally, the judge will ask the minor the following: • Basic background information (e.g., her age, school grade level, with whom she lives). • Whether she knows the alternatives to abortion. • Whether she understands the medical procedure and its risks. • With whom she has discussed her decision, whether she fully understands her options, and is making her decision freely. Where does this hearing take place? This court hearing takes place in a private courtroom or in the judge’s office. The only individuals present are the judge, clerk, stenographer, minor, and the minor’s attorney. (A minor is entitled to be represented by an attorney ap- pointed and paid by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.) The record of this hearing and all the documents are impounded by the court so that the public Medical Issues 9