There are a lot of rumors circulating on social media about teen rights to getting birth control and other important reproductive health and medical services.
Every state is different. Elected leaders in each state determine laws for teen rights. California has passed laws to help make sure teens have access to free and confidential sexual and reproductive health care, so they can stay healthy.
Teen Rights in California
In California, teens under the age of 18 – regardless of their citizenship or immigration status - have the right to access free and confidential reproductive health care and some other medical services. This means that you do not need your parent’s permission to get these services and they will not be sent any notification about the services you get.
- Birth control counseling and services
- Emergency contraception (known as the “morning after pill”)
- Pregnancy testing and prenatal care
- Abortion care
And if you are over the age of 12, you also don’t need your parent’s permission to get:
- STD services like testing, treatment and prevention (like the HPV vaccine)
- Mental health services and substance abuse services
Teens can also be excused from school – without parent permission or knowledge – to get reproductive health services. And California public schools must now provide students with comprehensive sex education that is unbiased and inclusive.
Paying for Reproductive Health Services
Don't let the cost of health services keep you from visiting a clinic. All teens in California have the right to free or low-cost medical care.
Private Insurance – If you have private health insurance through your parent or guardian, the health plan covers all birth control for free. You may have to pay a fee for pregnancy testing, STD tests + treatments and abortion care. Check with your health insurance company.
- Make sure to place a confidential communications request with your health insurance plan so they don’t share your private information with your parent/guardian! Learn more here.
- Medi-Cal – If you have Medi-Cal, it covers all services for free, including birth control, abortion care and STD treatment and testing.
- Don’t Have Health Insurance? – If you don’t have health insurance, you can get FREE birth control and some STD services through Family PACT. If you are pregnant, you may be eligible to sign up for temporary Medi-Cal for maternity or abortion care. You can sign up for Family PACT and temporary Medi-Cal regardless of your immigration status.
Click here to find a clinic near you.
Although California law helps make sure that teens can get services like birth control and STD testing without parental notification or consent, it is a good idea to talk with your parent or another trusted adult about your sexual and reproductive health. If you think your parents might need help having these kinds of conversations, you can share this website with them.
Health advocates fought hard to win these rights for teens. You can help make sure that your health rights are protected. Here are some opportunities for you to take action:
- Birth Control Access: Did your health plan deny your birth control method? Or didn’t give you a 12 month supply? Tell us your story here
- Comprehensive Sex Education: Sex Ed is now mandatory in CA public schools. Is your school following the law? We want to hear from you!
- Tell Congress to Protect Successful Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs Urge Congress to Invest In - Not Cut- STD Prevention.
Get Involved with TeenSource
Want to blog for TeenSource? Click here to find out how CA teens can help educate their peers about sex + reproductive health.
This blog was reposted from TeenSource.org, a project of Essential Access Health. TeenSource.org is an online hub for comprehensive and teen-friendly information on birth control, STDs, relationships and teen’s rights to accessing sensitive services. The site features youth-developed blogs and videos, a clinic finder, a Condom Access Project and links to TeenSource social media where youth can stay updated on relevant sexual and reproductive health information and news.
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