Parents & Guardians FAQ
Parents & Guardians
We always encourage young people to talk with a parent or another adult that they trust about big personal decisions, like becoming sexually active and/or using birth control. It’s nice to have someone in your life that you can talk to about these things, but not everyone is going to be comfortable talking to their parents.
That said, all of the services at Maine Family Planning clinics, including birth control, are confidential. That means that we won’t tell anyone about your visit, and you don’t need permission from your parents (or anyone else) to come to a family planning clinic.
The cost of birth control depends on your income and family size, but we’ll do our best to find an affordable option that works for you. You’ll want to call your local clinic to find out exactly what you can expect to pay.
Not every doctor’s office has to follow the same rules when it comes to confidentiality and cost, though, so if you go somewhere other than one of the clinics listed on our site, you’d want to talk with them about how they handle privacy, confidentiality, and cost.
Either way, using birth control if you are sexually active is a very responsible decision! You can make that decision for yourself and keep it private, if you choose.
What is the legal age for a woman to receive birth control? What are the regulations for abortions in Maine for underage girls? Is parental consent needed for girls under the age of 18 to get birth control or abortions?
Let’s take these one at a time.
What is the legal age for a woman to receive birth control?
Health providers can begin prescribing birth control as soon as a girl or woman is medically eligible– meaning that she’s safely started her period. There’s no “legal” or official age, as girls go through puberty and start their periods at different ages.
What are the regulations for abortions in Maine for underage girls?
We’re not sure what you mean when you say “regulations–” here are some of the laws and practices around abortion in Maine:
- All abortion providers in Maine are licensed by the Maine Board of Medicine.
- All patients, regardless of age, go through in-depth counseling and an informed consent process.
- Patients under 18 are required to involve an adult in their decision, but they do not need to notify or get consent from a parent to get an abortion.
- Currently, both Federal and Maine state law ban the use of Medicare and Medicaid/ MaineCare funds from covering an abortion (except in very limited cases)– which means that even if a person has insurance through Medicaid or Medicare, they will have to pay for the procedure out of pocket.
Is parental consent needed for girls under the age of 18 to get birth control or abortions?
- No. Federal and Maine state law both protect confidentiality for people of any age obtaining birth control at Family Planning centers; parents do not need to give consent or be notified.
- Maine’s law requires that people under 18 seeking an abortion involve an adult, but that adult does not have to be a parent. There are several ways to do this; click here to read about Maine’s adult involvement law.
- We encourage all of our patients, especially young patients, to involve an adult they trust (and most do), but it’s also important that our patients are safe and can get the care they need.
So recently I came out to my parents as Bi-sexual. and they didn’t seem to care. When I told my dad he said “I don’t care, be whoever you want to be, I don’t give a f***, all I care about is your grades in school”. Do my parents hate me????
Coming out can be really difficult, and we’re proud of you for doing this! It’s not always easy to talk to your parents about who you are, but it’s important.
We don’t know how your parents feel about you– only they know that, and you should have a conversation with them if and when you feel comfortable talking more about your identity and relationships. It doesn’t sound like they hate you, though– despite some gruff language, it sounds like they might still be processing what you told them and the thing they care most about right now is your education.
We talk about coming out like it’s a one-time thing, but the truth is that it’s an ongoing process. You and your parents will probably have many more conversations about your identity going forward, especially if/ when you start dating and having relationships. The most important thing is that you’re able to be open, honest, and communicate safely with each other. Sometimes that takes practice and many conversations, so keep talking to your parents. You’ve probably known that you’re bisexual for a while, but they are just finding out and may need more time to figure out how they feel and what questions they have.
You deserve the love and support of your family, no matter what your sexual orientation is or who you’re in a relationship with. If you feel that you’re not getting the support and care you need, it might be a good idea to talk with another adult you trust (like a school counselor, aunt or uncle, etc.).
It’s normal for young people to have feelings for other young people and there are many ways to show that you like someone, without becoming physical. You could hang out together with other friends, sit together at lunch, share jokes — things you can do with other friends, under adult supervision.
If you are feeling like you want to be physical with someone, you should talk with a parent or another trusted adult. That person can help you understand your feelings, and help you make safe and healthy choices.
My friend is 13 and she told me her boyfriend got her pregnant. If her mom finds out about it she’ll kick her out. And she wants to actually keep the baby! What should she do?
This is a tough one, and you’re a good friend to look for information.
First, your friend should know that she has the right to full options counseling (where she can talk to a health care provider about all of her options, including parenting, adoption, and abortion). She has the right to continue the pregnancy and parent the child if she chooses. She has the right to stay in school while pregnant and parenting. More information on teens’ rights here.
Unfortunately, parents aren’t always supportive of their children’s decisions. Hopefully, your friend can talk to an adult that she feels safe with and knows she can trust–even if that’s not her mom right now.
We’d suggest that your friend come to a Maine Family Planning health center to talk with a health care provider about all of this. We can give her a pregnancy test, talk to her about talking with her mom, and connect her with the information and resources she’ll need.
I want to be on birth control but I don’t want my mom to know because I’m not having sex, I just want to be safe you know just in case anything happened what do I do? And is there anyway I can get it legally @ age 15 without my mom knowing?
Many people use birth control even if they aren’t sexually active, for a number of reasons. It’s good that you’re being responsible and planning for your own health and future– whatever your reasons are, they are legitimate!
Teens in Maine can get birth control and other reproductive health services (like STD testing or annual exams) without having to tell their parents or get their parents’ permission. The law protects your confidentiality and your right to make decisions about your own reproductive health. Call a Family Planning clinic near you to make an appointment and be sure to discuss confidentiality with them.
We always encourage young people to talk to an adult they trust about sex, relationships, and other big decisions, but we understand that parents aren’t always the ones you can turn to. We hope there’s an adult in your life you can trust!
this is a big question and we don’t think there’s really one right answer. for those who are thinking about or planning to be a parent, some of the questions you may want to ask yourself are:
- am i financially and emotionally ready to be a parent? do i have the food, shelter, and other resources to keep myself and my child safe and healthy?
- do i want to be a parent? am i ready? it’s completely possible to plan your family, whether you want to start in 1 year or 10. this is something that a provider at Maine Family Planning can help with.
- do i have the support of my partner, family, and other loved ones? are there people i can count on to help me and support me throughout my pregnancy and as a parent?
starting a family is a really big deal, and it’s normal to worry about doing a good job. every parent would probably give you different advice. we think that a big part of being a good parent is that you do your best to love and support your child, to keep them safe, healthy, and educated, and to ask for help when you need it.
So my girlfriend and I have been together for a while now, and she’s always wanted a kid even though we’re both young. I’m just turning 16 a couple of days ago and she’s been 15 since February. We use condoms when we have sex, but if she were to get pregnant accidentally what could her parents do? She’s against abortion and would want to keep it. I’d be happy as long as it’s with her, but I don’t know what her parents could do. Could they keep me from seeing her and the child? Would I not be allowed to be in either of their lives? I just need help. I’m always on my email so, get back whenever is most convenient to you. Thank you.
Because this service is anonymous, we can’t send you an email or contact you personally, so we hope you see our response here. If you (or anyone reading this) has questions and want a direct answer, please use our text line.
It sounds like you and your girlfriend have a good relationship and have thought about whether you want a family in the future. We’re glad you’re talking to each other and using condoms now. It can be very difficult to have a baby before finishing high school—it becomes more difficult to graduate and to find a job that pays well enough to support a family—so we encourage everyone (both teens and adults) to wait until they are in a stable relationship, have a secure job, and have finished their education before starting a family.
It would be a good idea for your girlfriend to come to a Maine Family Planning clinic to see if a more effective form of birth control would work for her (so that she doesn’t “accidentally” get pregnant)—all of our services are confidential and affordable. We could also talk to her about thinking about having a family in the future and planning for that in the best way possible.
In terms of you and your girlfriend’s rights:
Your girlfriend’s parents can not legally force her to have an abortion or to place the baby for adoption (or to continue the pregnancy). That doesn’t mean that they can’t tell her what they would like her to do, and it doesn’t mean that they will support her (financially or otherwise) in raising a child.
If you and your girlfriend did have a child, you would have legal rights and responsibilities as the parents (including the responsibility to support the child to the best of your ability). If her parents attempted to prevent you from seeing the child, you could ask a court to order that you have the right to visit the child. The court would review the situation and make a decision based on what’s in the child’s best interest. This is probably not an ideal way to start a family, so again, we encourage you and your girlfriend to talk to a medical provider or an adult you trust about planning for a family once you’re older.
You can read more about teen parents’ rights here.
You can call any of our clinics to make an appointment — find the phone numbers here.
Our services are confidential for people of any age; no one has to know about your visit if you don’t want them to. You can read more about the right to confidential care here.
If you have concerns about keeping your visit private because of insurance or other factors, please bring this up when you call. Our clinic staff can help you get the care you need in a way that feels safe.
Maine’s family planning clinics provide confidential services. This means we won’t tell your parents, or anyone else, that you used one of our clinics without your written permission.
The only time we would break this confidentiality is if we are concerned that you might hurt yourself or someone else, or if you tell us that someone is hurting you or hurting another person under 18 years old.
We encourage young people to involve their parents in health care decisions whenever possible. By providing their love and support, parents can play a crucial role for their teen during a challenging time.
In Maine, someone under the age of 18 can obtain confidential reproductive health care, including abortion care, without parental consent or notification.
My girlfriend’s vagina has been bleeding profusely for over 2 weeks now and is unable to visit a doctor without telling her parents. What should we do?
This site can’t be used to diagnose medical problems. If you can’t visit your own health care provider, please visit your nearest family planning clinic.
Maine’s family planning clinics see all people regardless of their age, race, religion, sex, economic status, sexual orientation, gender expression and identity. We provide care to people with no insurance as well as to people with private insurance or MaineCare.
In Maine, young people from the age of 14 and older do not need parental consent to access reproductive health care. We encourage teens to involve a parent in their health care decisions.
If you are under 18 years old, what services can you get at a family planning center WITHOUT your parents/guardians being notified?
Federal rules assure your confidentiality when you get care at any of Maine’s family planning clinics. That means, you can access all of our services — birth control, including emergency contraception; STD testing and treatment; physical exams; pregnancy testing and options counseling — without anyone else finding out.
The only time we will break this confidentiality is if we are concerned that you might hurt yourself or someone else, or if you tell us that someone is hurting you or hurting another person under 18 years old.
When I told my mom I was having sex, we went to the doctor and I had an Implanon implant put in 1.5 years ago and I want to have it removed but I don’t think my mom will like that idea. Am I allowed to go to a family planning clinic and choose another method of birth control?
It’s great that you were able to talk with your mom when you started having sex. I’m sure your mom cares about you and that’s why she’s trying to help you avoid early pregnancy.
Federal rules require confidentiality for all patients, including minors, at any family planning clinic. That means you can access all our services without anyone else finding out. This is different from other health care providers who may tell your parents about your visit and share your health care information.
If you are unhappy with your birth control method, you can certainly visit your nearest family planning clinic to talk with someone about making a change.
It’s great that you’re thinking about talking with your parents about your sexual orientation. There are definitely some things to consider when planning for that conversation.
In Maine, a minor can have an abortion with her informed written consent and the written consent of an adult. Read more about it here. At the Family Planning Association of Maine the cost of an abortion is $500. If you need help in covering the cost, we will work with you to help you figure it out.
If I use my family’s insurance plan to help pay for birth control, will my parents be able to see that the insurance was used for birth control?
Yes, most likely your parents would receive an “Explanation of Benefits” or EOB for short. This would list your name, the date of your office visit and what services you received.
If you need confidential services because you aren’t ready to tell your parents that you’re on birth control, it’s best to not use your parents’ insurance.
Federal rules assure your confidentiality if you get care at any family planning clinic. That means you can access all of these services without anyone else finding out. Sometimes, the best way to do this is to NOT use your parents’ insurance and instead apply for our discount program. Call the family planning clinic nearest you to find out more.
Even though you have a right to confidentiality at family planning, talking to someone you know and trust can help. If you aren’t ready to talk to your parents, find another trusted adult or friend.
Yes, in Maine minors need parental permission to receive the Gardasil vaccine.
Gardasil protects against HPV (genital human papillomavirus), the most common STD in the United States. HPV affects both men and women, and is transmitted through any kind of genital contact. The majority of people who contract HPV do not even realize that they have the virus. HPV can cause cervical cancer in women.
The HPV vaccine can prevent most cases of cervical cancer in females, if it is given before exposure to the virus. In addition, the vaccine can prevent vaginal and vulvar cancer in females, and genital warts and anal cancer in both males and females.
We support everyone’s right to form healthy, respectful relationships with people of any race, gender, or other background. If you are interested in dating someone that your mom doesn’t approve of, it might be a good idea to have a conversation with her to find out more about why she feels that way and to help her understand why you want to date a certain person. It can be tough to have conversations with parents about your own personal relationships, but it can also be a way to learn more about why your parents feel that way they do.
why do people think that if you’re not rich and have what they have then you’re not cool? Why do looks matters?? Is it theer self-esteem or just their hormonones? Why do they think it’s ok to tease them because they don’t have what they have?
A lot of this has to do with the media and popular culture telling us that physical attractiveness and having a lot of material possessions are important, will make us happier, and makes a person cooler and more interesting. Because we’re surrounded with these messages all the time, sometimes not fitting into that “ideal” image really can have an effect on someone’s self-esteem. One way to start to push against this is to recognize the messages you are getting from TV, movies, videos, music, magazines, and advertising– once you are better able to see what the media is trying to sell you, you’ll get better at deciding whether those things really matter, and whether they will really make your life better.
As for why people think it’s okay to tease other people– well, here at maineteenhealth.org, we’re experts in sexual health, so we don’t know the answer to that question. What we DO know is that it’s never okay to bully, tease, or otherwise pick on other people. So if you see someone bullying others, it’s okay to speak up to that person or to an adult you trust to get involved. No matter what celebrities, our friends, or the media say, it’s never okay to treat someone differently because of the way they look or the things they have or don’t have.
It can be difficult to figure out what to do when you find out you are pregnant at ANY age. At 13, you are just starting to deal with changes in your own body and your life as you enter your teenage years, so talking with an adult you trust (and feel safe talking to) could help you figure out what to do next. Family planning counselors can also help you figure out what your options are so that you can make the decision that’s right for you.
what do you do if your parents are kinda overprotective and you don’t want them to know you’re having sex but you want to start birth control?
We always encourage young people to talk with a parent or another adult that they trust about big personal decisions, like becoming sexually active and using birth control. It’s nice to have someone in your life that you can talk to about these things, but not everyone is going to be comfortable talking to their parents– that’s when it’s nice to have an older sibling, uncle or aunt, guidance counselor, or other adult you trust in your life.
That said, all of the services at Maine Family Planning clinics, including birth control, are confidential. That means that we won’t tell anyone about your care here, and you don’t need permission from your parents (or anyone else) to come to a family planning clinic, either. That’s not true of every doctor’s office, though, so if you go somewhere other than one of the clinics listed on our site, you’d want to talk with them about how they handle privacy and confidentiality.
Either way, using birth control if you are sexually active is a very responsible decision! You can make that decision for yourself and keep it private, if you choose.
It’s great that you are thinking about talking to your dad about birth control; we think it’s great when young people can talk to the adults in their lives about their health and relationships. Using birth control and condoms is mature and responsible, and so is talking with your parent(s) about it.
It can be an awkward or difficult conversation, but if your dad is a safe and understanding person in your life, he’ll probably be glad that you’re able to talk to him. That said, keep in mind that it’s okay for some things about your personal life to remain private—you can have an honest conversation and still have boundaries about what you’re willing to discuss.
It’s a parent’s job to help their kids stay safe and happy. Tell your dad that protecting yourself against STDs and pregnancy is important to you, and you want his help and support. Hopefully, your dad will be able to talk with you openly and honestly and give you the support you need. That might mean that he brings you to your local family planning clinic, help you pay for birth control, or just that he won’t be surprised if he sees your pills in the bathroom.
If it’s not safe or possible for you to talk to your dad, you should know that teens have the right to confidential reproductive health care in Maine. That means that you can get birth control without a parent’s permission and the clinic won’t tell your parents about your care.
Need more tips? Here’s more great advice from Scarleteen.
This will probably be a difficult conversation, but it’s good that you want to talk to your parents. Pregnancy is a big deal, and having support from your family is important.
You may want to seek outside help from a counselor or other adult you can trust. Telling that person can be good practice for telling your parents. Maine Family Planning clinics provide counseling on all of your options, and providers there are experts at talking about pregnancy.
If you think it will be helpful, include the guy who’s responsible for the pregnancy, too. Be clear with him about what you need and whether or not you want him to be with you when you tell your parents.
Remember that in Maine, you have the right to seek abortion, adoption, or to parent as a teen. Although we encourage teens to talk to their parents (as long as it’s safe for them to do that), the law does not require you to notify your parents, and you don’t have to get their permission for whatever you choose.
Your parents might be disappointed, but hopefully they will be there for you. If you don’t know how they’ll react, it’s not a bad idea to have a backup plan. This might mean identifying safe places to stay, other adults you can turn to, or making sure you’ll have a ride to medical appointments. You know your family best, and it’s important that you keep yourself safe.
Want more info? We think this article from Sex, Etc. is really helpful.
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