No matter your age, an unexpected pregnancy can be scary. It’s important to surround yourself with people who love and encourage you throughout this journey, as well as offer support for your decision about whether to continue with your pregnancy.
Unfortunately, in some situations, pregnancy can cause the baby’s father, friends and family members to react negatively. One or more loved ones may make a case for an abortion. In these situations, be ready to discuss your feelings and reasons for your choice not to abort. Your family members or partner may surprise you with their cooperation.
Even if you’ve made it clear that your choice is to keep your baby, your loved ones may still pressure you to have an abortion. When a woman fears she could lose her relationship, job, home or reputation, she is often more likely to agree to an abortion even when she’s clear that is not her choice. This is called “coerced abortion” and it’s illegal.
If you’re feeling pressure to have an abortion that you don’t want, it’s important to know your rights:
- The Law – It’s illegal in the United States for anyone to try to force a woman to have an abortion when she doesn’t want one – even if she is under the age of 18. Simply put: If you don’t want an abortion, no one can make you have one.
- At Home – Parents who try to coerce their daughters to have an abortion could potentially face criminal charges. Even if your parents are not physically abusive, coercion includes things like threatening to kick you out of the house, cut you off from support, or forcibly driving you to an abortion clinic. The Justice Foundation has many resources for women being pressured by their parents to have an abortion.
- At Work – It’s illegal for any employer in any state to fire someone just because they’re pregnant. If you feel like your pregnancy is causing you to be being discriminated against at work, contact the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
At the HOPE Center, we understand how important it is for young pregnant women to have support and encouragement. We know this is a difficult decision and we can provide you guidance without judgement. We take the time to listen, and offer advice when you need it. Know that you do have choices, and whatever you choose, we have resources that can help.