If you just found out that your teen daughter is pregnant, ultimately, the decision of what do with the pregnancy is in your daughter’s hands. This may be hard to swallow.
After 14+ years of raising her, you probably know her pretty well (though she might deny it). This means that you will be able to help her sort through her options while knowing a little better than a counselor about her hopes, dreams, morals, and desires.
How does she feel about being a teen mom? Adoption? Abortion? Hear her out, and of course, you can insert your opinion too and explain your reasoning. You might help her realize things she hadn’t even considered. But make sure you really hear her out before you give her any input.
Make sure you really hear her out before you give her any input.
Offer to bring her to ACPC Women’s Clinic so that she can get an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy. Whatever she chooses, getting an ultrasound to confirm the viability and age of the pregnancy is a necessary step. You can offer to come into ACPC Women’s Clinic with her, or allow her to have her space to ask the her advocate questions.
What are my rights as a parent?
In certain states, your permission is required for your daughter (if she is a minor – under 18) to get an abortion. Some states also require parental consent for adoption. Otherwise, your rights depend on your living situation. If your daughter lives under your roof, obviously she has to abide by your rules. And if she won’t, you will need to sort out temporary to long-term alternate housing.
The important thing to know is that you do NOT have the right to force any decision on your daughter, whether that is parenting, adoption, or abortion. You can, of course, refuse to pay for certain things or set punishments, but you legally cannot coerce your daughter into the pregnancy decision that you wish for her.
According to research from Guttmacher Institute, here are state’s laws regarding:
Parental consent for minors (age 17 and younger) who want an abortion:
- States that require parental consent: AL, AZ, AR, ID, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MI, MS, MO, NE, NC, ND, OH, OK, PA, RI, SC†, TN, TX, UT, VA, WI, and WY
- States that do not require any parental consent: CT, D.C., and ME
- States that require the parents be notified about an abortion: CO, DE‡, FL GA, IL, IA, MD, MN, NH, SD, and WV
- States that had a law requiring parental consent or notification, but the law is not currently in effect: AK, CA, MT, NV, NJ, NM,
- States that do not specify about minors and abortion (likely do not require consent or notification): HI, NY, OR, VT, and WA
† SC’s laws refer to 16 and younger. ‡ DE’s laws apply to under age 16 only.
Parental consent and/or legal counsel for minors (age 17 and younger) who wish to place a baby for adoption:
- States that do not require parental consent: AL, AZ, CA, CO, DE, D.C., GA, HI, ID, IL, KS, MD, MS, NV, NH*, NJ, NM, NY, ND, OH, OK^, SC, TN, UT, VT, VA, WV, and WY
- States that do require parental consent: LA, MI, MN, and RI
- States that do not differentiate between adults and minors (thus should not require parental consent): AK, AR, FL, IA, ME, MA, NE, NC, OR, SD, TX, and WI
- States that require parental notification of plans for adoption: PA
- States that require that legal counsel be present for the minor in adoption court: CT, KY, MO, MT, and WA
* A court can require parental consent. ^ Only applies to minors age 14+.
Give us a call or text us at 719.544.9312 to find additional information about your state’s rights for parents of teens age 17 and under who are pregnant.
Need to talk? We can help mediate a conversation or just answer any questions you have.
Call or text us at 719.544.9312
We have also put together some helpful information and resources right here on our blog that may be of some help to you during this process:
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