It is your right to decide how to handle your planned, unwanted or unexpected pregnancy. It is your decision but you do not have to be alone when making it. Discuss your options with your partner and talk to a trusted adult. Counselors at health clinics will also help you in reaching a decision that is best for you.
The first thing you need to do is get a pregnancy test done at a clinic or a doctor’s office. The home pregnancy tests are not 100% reliable. If you find that you are pregnant, you have some decisions ahead of you. There are choices:
- You can have the baby and keep it
- You can put the baby up for adoption
- You can have an abortion in the first 12 weeks of your pregnancy performed safely by trained medical staff
Teenagers' Rights when Pregnant
If you are a teen in out-of-home care you do have rights if you become pregnant. These rights are from Fight For Your Rights: A Guidebook for California Foster Youth, Former Foster Youth, and Those Who Care About Them, written by Phil Ladew at The National Center for Youth Law (4th edition, September 2004). This Guidebook is regularly updated and can be found at: http://www.youthlaw.org/. Here are some important rights from the book:
- "If you are in foster care and are pregnant, you are the one that makes the decisions – no one, not your foster parents, social worker, or even the judge can make you have the baby, have an abortion, or give the baby up for adoption. You are the only one that can make those decisions. Don’t let anyone force you into doing anything you don’t want to do.
- If you decide to raise the baby they cannot take your baby away from you – you will be able to raise the baby yourself. You will be able to make decisions about the baby and sign any papers needed for the baby. Your social worker must make sure that you get help learning how to be the best parent you can be. Make sure that other people besides your foster parents see that you are a good parent.
- If you decide to terminate your pregnancy, then Medi-Cal will pay for the procedure.
- If you are in foster care, you will not get any money to care for the baby, but your foster parents will. They will receive a little more money (about $300) to help care for the baby, but you and your baby will not be eligible for welfare (CalWorks). Your foster parents will pay for diapers, food, clothes, and other things your baby needs.
- The only way foster parents can take your baby away from you is if the baby is in danger or you are abusing or neglecting it. If this happens, then you will get to go to court and prove you are a good parent.
- If you and the baby’s other parent are having trouble deciding on who will care for the baby, or when you can visit the baby, the court may have to decide visitation and custody issues.” (page 32-33)"
A Brief Discussion about Your Options
Having the Baby
If you decide to have the baby, you should begin regular prenatal checkups. Good prenatal care is vital to you and your baby’s health. Eat a healthy diet, refrain from smoking, drinking or using drugs (these seriously affect the baby’s health and development). Later in your pregnancy you may want to enroll in some childbirth preparation classes so you will be fully informed and better prepared for childbirth and becoming a mother. As an expecting father, you might want to play an active role in your child’s life. Here are some tips:
Communicate with your partner
Make sure the mother is getting prenatal care
Go along on doctor visits
Take part in the child birth classes and the delivery If your partner does not want you involved in the baby’s life, contact legal services to find out about your rights as the father.
Adoption is the legal placement of a child with people who will raise the child as their own. Adoption can be arranged in one of three ways:
- Agency Adoption: the birth parents relinquish their child to the agency. The agency then places the child into the adoptive home.
- Independent Adoption: the birth parents relinquish their child directly to the adoptive home.
- Adoption by Relatives: the court grants legal adoption to relatives. For more information on adoption, call contact one of the resources listed at the end of this section.
Aborion (The following information was obtained from the Planned Parenthood website)
Abortion is a way to end pregnancy. Sometimes, an embryo or fetus stops developing and the body expels it. This is called spontaneous abortion or "miscarriage." A woman can also choose to end a pregnancy. This is called induced abortion. There are three ways it can be done — with medicine, vacuum aspiration, or surgery. Most abortions are performed within the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Earlier abortions are safer than abortions performed later in pregnancy. It is important to talk to someone about your options.
Family Planning and Related Services
Provides reproductive health services including all methods of birth control, pap smears, breast exams, STI diagnosis and treatment, vaginal, pelvic and bladder infections. Pregnancy testing, counseling, and referrals on all alternatives are offered. All services are confidential regardless of age, marital status and ability to pay. Serves low income clients. Call for appointments, fee schedules and eligibility requirements. Can my local Planned Parenthood help me with prenatal care and parenting? Many Planned Parenthood health centers provide prenatal care as well as parenting classes and workshops. Any Planned Parenthood can refer you to other professionals you can also trust.
The following is a list of Planned Parenthood Clinics:
Chula Vista Clinic
1295 Broadway, #201
Chula Vista, CA 91911
El Cajon Clinic
330 S. Magnolia, #101
El Cajon, CA 92020
1820 Marron Road, Suite 110
Carlsbad, CA 92008
347 W. Mission Avenue
Escondido, CA 92025
Mission Valley Express
1333 Camino del Rio S., Suite 306
San Diego, CA 92108
Pacific Beach Express
1602 Thomas Avenue
San Diego, CA 92109
Mira Mesa Clinic
10737 Camino Ruiz, #220
San Diego, CA 92126
Mission Bay Clinic
4501 Mission Bay Drive, #1C&D
San Diego, CA 92109
4575 College Avenue
San Diego, CA 92115
Euclid Avenue Clinic
220 Euclid Avenue, Suite 40
San Diego, CA 92114
First Avenue Clinic
2017 First Avenue, Suite 301
San Diego, CA 92101
Kearny Mesa Clinic
7526 Clairemont Mesa Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92111
San Diego Adolescent Pregnancy and Parenting Program (SANDAPP)
Serves pregnant and parenting teens under 18. Offers counseling, family planning, job training, jobs and parenting classes.
Family Planning Services
855 E. Madison Ave
El Cajon, Ca 92020
Operates a 24-hour lifeline for pregnancy counseling and support, if necessary the answering services will put the caller in contact with a trained volunteer. Planning services is a pro-life organization for those who are distressed by an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. Offers free pregnancy test; referral services for medical, counseling, financial, housing, or legal assistance. Also provides day-to-day help and support including prenatal nutrition and health-care information, layette items, maternity and baby clothes, and home visits.
6046 Cornerstone Ct.
San Diego, Ca 92115
Provides free pregnancy counseling. Accepts all natural parent requests for immediate confidential help in making decisions regarding an unplanned pregnancy. Also offers adoption services to parents who are unable to continue to parent a child.
Catholic Charities: Pregnancy Parenting & Adoption Services
349 Cedar St.
San Diego, CA 92101
General information provided for all services related to pregnancy and adoption.
County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency
San Diego County adoptions Midwives Midwifery & Breastfeeding
Telephone consultation service available from a professional lactation consultant who will answer questions regarding: milk supply, sore nipples, breast infections, fussy baby, sleepy baby, working and breastfeeding and other situations that present problems with successful nursing. Also offers information on pump sales and rental. Also offers a lactation clinic located at San Diego medical clinics where families are seen by appointment only. Call for information about clinic charges.
La Leche League
24 Hour Hotline Provides information and encouragement on breastfeeding through telephone consultations, home visits, and meetings held throughout the county.
Pregnancy Support Center
24-hour hotline (858) 485-8500
677 S Magnolia Ave
El Cajon, Ca 92020
Provides alternatives to abortion with free pregnancy testing; 24 hour hotline; education; pre-abortion and post abortion counseling, referrals to sheltering homes; adoption referrals; and referrals to other needed services. Instruction is offered in childbirth and breast feeding as well as parenting.