“I’m 17 and have been dating my boyfriend for 2 months. Last week, we found out that I’m pregnant. He said he’d drop out of school and go full-time at his job so that we can raise this baby together, but I’m not sure I’m ready to be a mom yet. I just told my parents I’m pregnant. They’re furious and disappointed in me. They made an appointment for me to get an abortion. Can they make me get an abortion?”
No one can make you get an abortion if you don’t want one. Unless you’re in a medical emergency and your life is in danger, your parents can’t force you to have an abortion. Abortion providers will only perform abortions for women who have decided to have one. The decision to have an abortion must be yours. Any parent who tries to coerce their daughter to have an abortion can face legal charges for battery, child abuse, or other crimes.
Getting an abortion because your parents think you should might not actually be what’s right for you. You can learn from their advice, but you will have to decide what’s best for yourself. This is your baby and your choice, but abortion is the only choice you can’t reverse.
You have a right to make important health and life choices. When you’re facing a pregnancy at such a young age, it’s common to feel like your life is out of whack. Take some time to think about what’s best for you and your baby.
Are You Ready to Become a Mom?
Even as a teen mom, you have the choice over what happens to your baby. There are lots of things to think about before deciding to raise a child. Once you become a parent, you’ll be responsible for another person for at least the next 18 years. Raising a child requires major commitments in money and in time. Even with the help from family and friends, being a teen parent isn’t easy. It’s often frustrating and complicated. Their children may also have a more difficult time growing up.
Here are some questions to ask yourself before deciding to parent your baby:
- Am I ready to give up my education and social life with my friends to take care of my baby?
- Will I make enough money to support myself and my child?
- Am I ready to accept responsibility for parenting, if it becomes necessary?
- Am I mature enough to avoid harming my child physically or emotionally?
- Am I ready to put my school and future career plans on hold?
Your parents can have tons of influence since they hold authority over you! Some people say that teens don’t have the physical and mental capacity to understand the results of their decisions. They believe that parents should have the legal right to force their children into a decision as they have the best interests of the child at heart. We suggest that you talk to your parents: will they kick you out if you didn’t get an abortion?
Have You Thought About Adoption?
Adoption is a positive choice you can make if raising a baby doesn’t seem like it’d work. Open adoption means that you can select the adoptive parents who will raise your baby. Your boyfriend can help you pick if he’d like to get involved too.
Also, open adoption allows you to remain part of your child’s life as they grow up. Open adoption doesn’t mean “goodbye” forever; you can see your baby grow up through videos, emails, phone calls, texts, and visits.
The choices are yours! With open adoption, you get to decide about future contact, who will raise your baby, and how things will go in the hospital when you deliver.
Lifetime Adoption Agency can give you info about the pregnancy choice of adoption. We’re also able to help you find the support you need in your local community.
Remember, you are not alone! Just call or text us at 1-800-923-6784.
Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on July 28, 2016, and has since been updated.
As the Vice President (VP) of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.