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Pregnant Teen

pregnantteen.net

Somewhere in Texas, a man with a medical license is luring young women into illegal activities with the tacit approval of many of our finest citizens.

He’s got a reputation for "taking care of pregnancies for free" and his name is passed from high school "friend" to "friend". And when adults hear the whispers, they nod and say, "What a wonderful thing he is doing. What a generous man."

What a deal!

This is the offer: Free medical treatment in exchange for the baby. No tacky papers to sign, no annoying friends and family to interfere. No one needs to know. Well, except for you and the "friend" of a "friend", and the doctor, and his staff, and... well, no one really.

And the baby is safely swept away to a life of anonymity, a life with no rights and no identity. A life begun with so many lies it will take a wizard to unravel the story.

And in years to come, you will never know what happened to your child, and your child will never have any knowledge of or access to you. Never know you were young, afraid, or immature. Never know you share the same quirky smile, artistic talent, or medical condition. The connection between the two of you hasn’t just been locked away in a file of sealed adoption records... it doesn’t exist. Period. The identity of one human being has been erased for a lifetime, and the impact on you will also last a lifetime.

And if it’s happening in one doctor’s office in Texas, it’s most likely happening in others around the country.

It’s Illegal

Perhaps no one has told you that this generous offer is illegal. The kind doctor knows it. At 15, perhaps you do not. And if you are drawn into an illegal activity with promises like these, it is a form of coercion on the part of the doctor and that is illegal as well, and you can report it to the authorities. Even after the fact.

Perhaps you have good reasons to keep your pregnancy a secret. Perhaps no one has explained that there are many sources of free pregnancy care and counseling where confidentiality will be respected, places where you can also get the free services of an intermediary to help you talk to your family. Perhaps you don’t know that in some states, you can arrange a legal adoption on your own, even at 15. And if you decide you want to parent, there’s help available to make it possible.

What's Illegal? What's Coercion?

In simple language, here are the basics:

It's Illegal If...

  • someone gives you money or anything else of material value in exchange for your baby;
  • a private individual or agency arranges the adoption or permanent placement of your baby without legal proceedings and documentation.

It's Coercion When someone tries to...

  • threaten you
  • force you
  • shame you
  • embarrass you

into choosing to parent, to have an abortion, or to place a child for adoption when you do not want to.

You have the right to make a decision based on knowledge, and you have the right to access to information about your choices and how they might affect you and your child now and in the future.

What looks like an easy solution at 15 can be a living nightmare at 25. And what looks like the toughest decision can turn out to be the best thing you ever did. The most important things to remember are that you're not alone, and you need to take care of your health.

Free Help is Available

The Net can be a wonderful place to stay anonymous and get an eyeful of experiences and support.

Your options

Finding out you're pregnant can send common sense out the window, and it may be easy to jump at the first suggestion - which may not be the right one for you. Learning about the choices you can make is an important first step.

Talk about it

Online discussion forums like ourUnplanned Pregnancy Forum.

Online support groups for expectant teens like Young Moms which is geared toward teens who want to parent.

But, as helpful as these places might be to talk things out and hear what others have to say, remember that people in your daily life are also there to help. Youth counselor Mike Hardcastlesuggests:

  • Your parents. Unless you're afraid of physical harm or that they'll force you to keep/abort when that isn't your choice (in which case talk to another adult you trust and can confide in like an aunt, grandparent, family doctor), your parents' initial reaction may be disappointment or anger, but the truth is that most parents really want to help and support their kids.
  • The baby's father. Just because biology connects you more closely with the pregnancy doesn't mean the father isn't involved. Unless the guy is abusive or a real jerk, his support is something you should consider.

If you know...

...you want to place your child for adoption, agency programs will not cost you anything and can:

  • offer confidentiality in most cases,
  • cover your medical expenses,
  • provide you with your own legal representation,
  • provide pre- and post-adoption counseling, and
  • result in a legal adoption.

If you're looking for agencies in your area (or another, if you're thinking of getting away), visit our Directory of Adoption Professionals, which can be searched by location and type of professional.

...you want to parent but need help, look for resources such as Medicaid (for insurance), WIC (for food), and groups dedicated to helping women of all ages (this includes teens) keep their children.

To explore your options more fully, visit CrisisPregnancy.com

Reporting Illegal Activity

If you are a teen and you're afraid or uncertain about reporting this kind of activity, ask a friend or an adult you trust to do it for you. If you are an adult, please report it to the authorities. Illegal activities, no matter how "well-meaning" are illegal for a reason. Legal adoptions help the teen parent(s) with her/their self-respect, physical well-being, and provide access to counseling which will be needed, and will protect a child's right to truth, identity and heritage, whether or not the adoption is open.

Clif Brinson, an expert on law enforcement, says: "Local agencies or local State Bureau Investigation offices can assist in these matters and actually can handle them a lot quicker than Crime Stoppers and others. Anonymity can usually be kept most of the time. Usually with a tip, other evidence can be obtained to keep the informant out of the loop, but not always. Of course if they do it anonymously, then they certainly will not be revealed."

Abuse

If you are afraid for your safety at home (whether due to your being pregnant or not), call 911 or the nearest child abuse reporting center immediately! You are protecting your own and your child's life.

Credits: by Nancy S. Ashe

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