If you decide to have the baby and become a parent, you are NOT automatically emancipated from your parents. This means that while you have full parental rights over your baby, your parents still have parental rights over you and are still responsible for your financial support, housing, food, clothing, education and health.
If you choose to become a parent, you are responsible for raising your child.
Texas provides many programs that help support you as a parent and provide for your child:
- Texas Women’s Health Program (Only for women ages 18+)
- CHIP Perinatal Coverage
- Nurse-Family Partnership
- WIC Nutrition Program
- Early Childhood Intervention
- LifeWorks (Austin)
You can also get child support from the baby’s father. This includes both fathers who decide to help raise the child and fathers who do not want to be involved. You can find more information on how to get child support at the Texas Attorney General’s Child Support Services site.
The Texas Baby Moses Law
If you find that you cannot handle the task of parenting, Texas provides the “Baby Moses/Safe Haven” law.
If your baby is under 60 days old, this law allows you to leave your baby at a designated safe location and not return. Your baby will be taken care of and you will not face any legal penalty. Safe places include hospitals, emergency clinics and fire stations.
There are also other groups that will provide help and support for you as a teen parent:
- Girlmom: politically progressive web site for teenagers who are already mothers.
- Parenting Teens: for teens to share experiences and get help.
- Teen Parents: contains comprehensive fact sheets for teen parents including information on welfare, emancipation, and consent requirements for medical treatment, but not abortion. This is a national site so not all the laws are the same for Texas.
- Yo Soy: national campaign to end the stigma and silence around sex education, birth control, abortion & young parenting within the Latina/o community.
If you are a pregnant minor in Texas, Jane’s Due Process is here to help you understand and exercise your legal rights. You are not alone. CALL Jane’s Due Process’ Legal Hotline: 1-866-WWW-JANE or 1-866-999-5263. Or TEXT to 512-270-7190.