WHAT ARE MY CHOICES IF I AM PREGNANT?
You have two choices:
- You may choose to have an abortion.
- You may choose to continue the pregnancy and give birth.
If you choose to have the baby, you have these options:
- You may raise the baby yourself or with your partner.
- You may place the baby for adoption.
- You may place the baby in a legal guardianship with someone that you know, such as a relative.
CAN I HAVE AN ABORTION IF I AM UNDER 18?
Yes. California law gives you the same right to abortion as a legal adult.
The decision is yours. You have the right to make an appointment for an abortion on your own without your parents, caregivers, group home staff, attorney, social worker, or probation officer knowing or agreeing.
You do not need anyone else’s permission to get an abortion if you are under 18. It is also your choice whether to tell anyone if you do get an abortion.
If a doctor, caregiver, social worker or someone else tells you that you need permission to get an abortion, call your lawyer. It is their job to protect your legal right to abortion, and all other aspects of your healthcare.
HOW CAN I GET AN ABORTION?
Your regular health care provider may provide abortions for patients or may send you to another provider.
If you aren’t sure where to make an appointment, call one of the following hotlines. They are all confidential and private.
- ACCESS Women’s Health hotline helps girls and women in California who want to talk about pregnancy options. If you decide you want an abortion, they can help you find a clinic. ACCESS may also help you get free childcare, transportation, or housing if you need to travel to another part of the state for the abortion. 1-800-376-4636.
- Backline’s Talkline, 1-888-493-0092
- The National Abortion Federation’s hotline also has counselors who can help you for free: 1-800-772-9100.
HOW CAN I PAY FOR AN ABORTION?
Medi-Cal covers abortions. Your clinic or doctor can give you more information.
CAN I BE FORCED TO HAVE AN ABORTION?
No! No one, including your parents, caregivers, partner, social worker, or probation officer can make this decision for you. It is never okay for you to be forced to get an abortion or be forced to stay pregnant.
It is completely up to you to decide whether you want to give birth or get an abortion. If someone is pressuring you to get (or not get) an abortion, tell your health care provider and your attorney immediately.
If your doctor or another health care provider pressures you to get (or not get) an abortion, see a different provider and contact a legal services agency near you or contact teenhealthrights.org. Find legal services near you.
IF I AM PREGNANT AND IN FOSTER CARE, CAN I KEEP MY BABY?
Yes, you can. The law says that what you decide to do is entirely your choice, even if you are a teen. Your baby is not in foster care just because you are in foster care. You are the baby’s mother, and you retain the right to make decisions about your baby’s care.
IF I AM IN FOSTER CARE, WILL MY BABY GO INTO FOSTER CARE?
Your baby will NOT go into foster care just because you or the baby’s other parent is in foster care. You are the parent and have all the rights and responsibilities for caring for your child. Learn more about having a baby while in foster care.
IF I AM IN FOSTER CARE, CAN MY CHILD STAY WITH ME?
Yes. Even if you are under 18 and in foster care, you can keep legal custody of your child. That means you can make all the important decisions for your child. No one can take your child from you just because you are under 18 or in foster care. But you must care for your child, just like any parent.
WHAT TYPE OF SUPPORT CAN I GET FOR MY BABY?
Teenparent.net has great information about places and resources you can take advantage of to make the system work for you and your child.
IS ADOPTION RIGHT FOR ME?
Maybe. If you do not want an abortion, but cannot or do not want to raise a child, adoption may be a good choice for you. Learn more about adoption.
HOW CAN I GET HELP WITH PLACING MY BABY FOR ADOPTION?
You should talk to your court appointed attorney to make a plan. Learn more about adoption.
CAN I BE FORCED TO PLACE THE BABY FOR ADOPTION?
No! No one, not even your social worker, your parents or the baby’s other parent, can force you to place the baby for adoption. You have the right to keep your baby if you choose. If you do not want to place the baby for adoption, do not sign any papers without talking to a lawyer. If someone tries to force you to place the baby for adoption, you should tell your court appointed attorney.