The rights of teens under the age of 18 (“minors”) when it comes to pregnancy and healthcare are different in each state. It is important to know about your rights and the resources available to you depending on whether you decide to continue or end the pregnancy or make an adoption plan.
Laws and restrictions affecting minors can be complicated, and you may need help. Call a local family planning or abortion clinic and ask them to explain the local laws and resources for minors. You can also contact your local ACLU for information on the rights of minors and, in some cases, free assistance with legal representation.
Sometimes teens need help with judicial bypass- a quick, free, confidential legal action for those seeking to follow state laws in obtaining abortions without parental involvement. Others may need safety after making the decision to continue a pregnancy when parents or relatives become abusive or force teens from their homes through legal actions such as protective orders or emancipation actions. Some teens face problems at their schools as pregnant or parenting students and need legal help to defend the right to equal education under federal law.
- The Guttmacher Institute is one of the most respected research institutions in the country around issues of reproductive health. It also offers a comprehensive state-by-state overview of minors’ rights as parents, including adoption rights.
- Physicians for Reproductive Health offers detailed information on minors’ access to medical care in 13 select states.
- NARAL Pro-Choice America offers an overview of legislation and laws about abortion, including parental consent and notification laws, mandatory waiting periods, and information on state Medicaid funding for abortion.
- The National Network of Abortion Funds also has information on Medicaid funding from state to state and information on independent abortion funds that can help women in need of financial resources.
- Girl Mom provides information on the rights of pregnant and parenting teens to complete their education, as well as a vibrant online community with valuable information on all aspects of teen parenting