17 & Pregnant: Can She Live On Her Own?

17 and pregnantQ: My best friend is 17 and pregnant…
Can she legally move out on her own now that she is pregnant, if her parents won’t let her raise her baby at home?

A: Your friend is lucky to have help from someone who cares so much about what she is going through as she considers what to do now that she’s pregnant. You’re a good friend to help her with her research.

State laws vary, but in many cases of teen pregnancy the teen is considered emancipated as an adult and has rights over her child. In most cases her parents cannot force her to make any certain decision about her baby. There have been times when young women feel forced by her parents to abort the baby or times when her parents will not allow her to make an open adoption plan. In these circumstances it’s always good to reach out for answers about pregnancy options, even as a minor. Even if a woman is under the age of 18 she still has rights and options regarding her baby and her future, and it’s her choice–not her parents’ choice.

Your friend may request information about teen pregnancy and parental rights by calling 1-800-923-6784 or read about how to tell her parents about her pregnancy.

If your friend is concerned she cannot make it on her own as a single teen mother you can let her know that there is free, confidential information about options available to help, such as open adoption or maternity homes for teens. She may find the answers she needs by calling 1-800-923-6784 to speak with a pregnancy counselor anytime. Make sure your friend knows that she can research her options with the freedom to choose what will be best for her and her baby.

Of course, there are other aspects your friend is probably considering, such as if she can count on help and financial support from her baby’s father, how she’ll finish high school, or even how she’ll provide as a mother at the same time she is nurturing and raising a child. She may be worried about how working a job will take away time from raising her baby and wondering how she’ll get childcare she can trust without spending all her paychecks on daycare. Your friend may be grieving any dreams she had of going to college or getting married before she started a family. All of these concerns are real, and it can be easy for any woman facing unplanned pregnancy to become overwhelmed. Let your friend know she always has options, and that even though all of her options may not seem like the perfect answer right now, that with accurate information and time she’ll make a plan for her and her baby’s future that will feel right.

Whatever your friend decides, whether it was to raise her baby at home, move out, or provide parents for her baby through open adoption, she’s may face challenges that seem unfamiliar and uncomfortable. There’s a free book download available that allows women, like your friend, to sort out their thoughts and feelings during unplanned pregnancy. Have her check that out before she makes any moves. Continue to ask questions and seek positive accurate resources to help her make a decision that she’ll have peace about in the long term.

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