If you are pregnant and decide to have the baby, you have the right to:
Stay in your school
It's your right to keep going to school while you're pregnant and after your baby is born. It's against the law for schools to treat you differently because you're pregnant or a parent. Some schools have special programs for teen parents. But you do not have to change schools or classes just because you're pregnant.
Take maternity leave from work
Most working women in California have the right to take maternity leave. It's also illegal for most companies to fire you or discriminate against you in other ways because you're pregnant.
Have enough time and a safe, private space to pump and store breast milk at school.
In October of 2015, a new law was passed which requires schools to provide lactating students with a private, secure room and a place to store breast milk. It also requires schools to give students reasonable time during the school day to pump milk, so that they can continue their education. Learn more about this law here.
Receive child support from the father
If you decide to raise your child yourself, you have a right to some "child support" from the father, even if you're not married to each other. But the courts decide how much, and it can be hard to collect.
Place your baby up for adoption
If you aren't ready to be a parent, but don't want to have an abortion, it's your right to place your baby for adoption. Adoption means giving up your legal rights as a parent, as well as your responsibilities. Until all the final papers are signed, you still have the right to change your mind. After that, the adoption is permanent.
Change your mind after the baby is born
The law lets new parents leave their baby at a hospital or other safe places like fire stations, up to three days after birth, without getting in trouble or having to give their names. Then they have two weeks (14 days) to change their minds. You can also choose to place the baby for adoption, even if he or she isn't a newborn anymore.
If you choose to, there are programs and policies in place to support you to finish your education and access information and resources to help you provide a safe and loving home for your child. Here are some great resources:
- Pregnant Youth
- California Women's Law Center
- Strong Families
- Healthy Teen Network
- No Teen Shame
- Healthy Families America
- California Latinas for Reproductive Justice
- Forward Together
- ACT for Women and Girls