Choosing An Abortion
If you decide you do not want to parent, one of your options in addition to placing the baby in an adoptive home is to have an abortion. Regardless of your age, you can obtain a confidential abortion in New York State on your own, without getting permission from a parent, foster parent or your foster care agency. It is a crime for a doctor to release medical records relating to your abortion to your parents or other legal guardians without your permission.
In New York State, a woman has the legal right to obtain an abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy. The procedure gets more complicated later in the pregnancy. If you need help deciding whether to continue the pregnancy, seek counseling as soon as you learn you are pregnant.
It is important for you to know that all foster care agencies - even those with religious affiliations - are required by law to provide teens in their care with information about how to obtain the full range of family planning services, including birth control, emergency contraception, and abortion care. This means that if you want to get an abortion, your caseworker CANNOT tell you that he/she doesn't have to help you because you are placed with a Catholic agency.
You can also refer to the resource guide at the end of this handbook for adolescent-friendly health clinics where you can get this information on your own. If your caseworker or foster parents are trying to stop you from getting ANY pregnancy- related services, you should call your attorney immediately.
Remember that whatever your decision about your pregnancy, your foster care agency is not permitted to notify your parent, foster parent or guardian without your written permission.