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What to Know about Pregnancy as a Minor

You meant to spend your high school days making memories with friends and pursuing your dreams. You never imagined that you would be unexpectedly pregnant. Even if you feel overwhelmed with uncertainty and fear, you should know that as a pregnant teenager, you have options. You have the strength to make the best decision for you and you are not alone! 

Who is a minor?

Colorado considered anyone under the age of 18 a minor. Parents or legal guardians must support and protect minors. For a minor, certain things such as select medical treatments or obtaining a driver’s license require the consent of a parent. 

What are my rights as a pregnant minor?

Even if you’re under the age of 18 and pregnant, you have the right to make a choice about your pregnancy. In Colorado, you can choose to parent your baby, place your baby for adoption, or have an abortion. No one can force you to make a decision you don’t want to make. 

What are the father’s rights for my pregnancy? 

If you decide to parent the baby, the courts may decide that the father must pay child support. The father does not need to give permission for an abortion. He must be notified about the decision to place the baby for adoption and would need to terminate his rights for the adoption to proceed. However, the father cannot force you to make a decision regarding your pregnancy.  

Do I have to tell my parents that I’m going to have an abortion? 

Laws regarding parental notification/permission about an abortion vary state to state. All minors should receive education about the contraindications, procedures, and risks of an abortion

How do I tell my parents that I’m pregnant? 

Every pregnant teenager feels terrified to tell her parents about an unexpected pregnancy, but every parent will respond differently to the news. Simply tell your parents as soon as you can and communicate calmly and with clarity. Read more tips here

Can my parents force me to have an abortion? 

If your parents don’t agree with your unexpected pregnancy, they may say things like, “Have an abortion, or I’ll kick you out of the house.” Statements like those show that your parents are trying to force you to have an abortion. Legally, your parents must provide you with housing, education, food, and safety. They cannot force you to have an abortion. Speak with a trusted professional at once if you feel like your parents (or anyone) is trying to force you to have an abortion. State laws protect your right to make your own decision about your pregnancy.  

Do my parents have to consent to my prenatal care? 

Any healthcare related to your pregnancy will remain confidential. You consent to all your own care, including labs, doctor appointments, ultrasounds, and delivery. Healthcare providers must keep confidentiality and will only report the pregnancy if there was abuse.  

Who makes decisions about my baby if I’m a minor? 

Even if you are a minor, you will make all the healthcare decisions for your baby after delivery.

Do I need my parents’ permission to place my baby up for adoption? 

You make the decision to place your baby for adoption and your parents do not have to give their permission. However, you may want to include your parents in the process so that they can offer you support. 

Does adoption work differently for a minor? 

The adoption process works similarly for all pregnant women, regardless of age. You’ll want to choose an adoption agency that will walk you through each step of the pregnancy. Agencies empower you to make decisions and plans that include your wishes. Adoption costs you nothing and often costs related to pregnancy are covered throughout the adoption process.  

Do my parents have to know that I’m getting birth control? 

As a minor, you can receive contraception from healthcare providers without your parents’ consent. You can also seek testing and treatment for sexually transmitted infections without telling your parents. Healthcare providers must also keep all of your medical information confidential. 

Do I have to tell my high school that I’m pregnant? 

You will eventually want to tell your high school that you are pregnant so that they can offer you accommodations. By law, you have the right to stay in school and no one can force you to transfer schools or drop out of high school. The school must allow you time away for doctor’s appointments or other reasons related to the pregnancy. If you miss any schoolwork, the school should offer you ways to make up the assignments and continue in your education. Most schools have processes and even programs in place for pregnant mothers. Just ask! They cannot tell your parents about the pregnancy.

Will I get in trouble if my boyfriend is older than me?

Each state has different laws about the age of sexual consent. Some states have laws that allow consensual sex between partners within a certain age gap. But regardless of the age difference, you have the right to make an informed decision about your pregnancy.

No matter how you feel, take each day one day at a time. As you contemplate what’s next, reach out to Marisol Health. We will help you confirm your pregnancy, educate you about all of your options, and empower you to make the best decision for you. Make an appointment online or call us today at (720)802-6842 to speak with our compassionate team. We care about you, no matter your age!