You might be getting lots of opinions when you tell others about your pregnancy. Some people may agree with your decision and some may not. If you are undecided, these opinions can make things even more difficult. You might even have people close to you telling you what to do and you might feel forced or pressured into a decision that you are not ready to make.
Over the years at Choices, we have met with many women in the exact same position. We will never pressure you into a decision, only listen. And if someone is pressuring you, we can help with that too.
Your life will be impacted the most by your decision. No one should force you into a decision that you are not ready to make. There are laws that can protect you. We want you to feel empowered by your choice.
If Someone is Pressuring you to Have an Abortion:
If you live in Pennsylvania, under the PA Abortion Control Act, a pregnant woman cannot be forced to have an abortion unless there is a medical emergency.
A pregnant woman under the age of 18 who is being “forced” to have an abortion can do the following:
1. You MUST refuse to sign any documents provided by your parents or a clinic, which might show your consent to an abortion. You must also refuse to sign any certification that you have been provided information.
2. Advise every medical/clinic person with whom you have contact that you do not want the abortion, that you do not agree with the abortion, and that you will sue if the abortion takes place.
3. You should be prepared to remind any doctor who tries to proceed without your consent that even though you are under 18 years of age and even though you are not emancipated, you have rights under the Abortion Control Act and do not want the abortion, and that the doctor will be reported to the State Board of Medicine or the State Board of Osteopathic Medicine to have his/her license suspended and because the abortion is without your informed consent, that his/her action is criminal and will be reported as such.
4. If you feel that your parents, or guardians, or persons with temporary parental authority over you are forcing you to have an abortion, you can ask for the address and telephone number of the county courthouse to ask the court of common pleas to make them stop so you can keep your baby. The legal authority for this is found at 18 Pa. C.S.A. Sect. 3206(g). You should know that there are no filing fees, and the court will provide you with a lawyer. The court will be required to give the matter “expedited” consideration and grant appropriate relief to prevent the coercion. That means the court will handle your situation immediately and stop people from pressuring you.
5. If you refuse to have an abortion and your parents cut you off financially or kick you out of your home, you will be able to seek assistance from the state.