Legal Rights of Parents of Pregnant Teens in Kentucky
- Parents have legal rights when it comes to their daughter's pregnancy.Summer pregnancy image by dpaint from Fotolia.com
Pregnancy is often a fear for the parents of teenage children and a life-changing event for everyone involved. Each state has its own set of laws pertaining to the legal rights of parents of pregnant teens. In Kentucky, a more conservative state, parents have more rights than they may initially think.
Overall, communication and support are important for parents of the pregnant teen and the expectant mother. However, parents have legal rights regarding the abortion and marriage of a minor, but if the child chooses emancipation, the parents lose those rights.
- In many cases, abortion is a viable option for the mother. However, a pregnant minor must have the consent of at least one parent (not any other relative) to obtain an abortion. This requirement can be avoided by a judicial bypass in case of an emergency. Kentucky does not allow for the bypass of parental consent in either rape or incest.
Parents cannot force their teen to have an abortion if she chooses not to. If there is a medical emergency and the teenager's health is endangered, a parent can require an abortion, but the pregnant teen has the right to seek judicial intervention if her parents demand an abortion.
- Teen mothers may choose marriage as a practical situation for the new family. In Kentucky, the age of majority and consent is 18. A teen who is 16 or 17 may marry, but only with the consent of the her parents. The parents of the teen, however, can forbid their underage daughter to marry the father of her child if they so desire. However, judges in Kentucky reserve the right to deny a marriage license to any pregnant minor even with the consent of parents.
- Emancipation is the legal process used when a minor obtains a court order to end the rights and responsibilities of the parent. There is either a partial or complete emancipation. In a partial emancipation a child is free to make her own decisions regarding herself but remains entitled to financial support from her parents; whereas a complete emancipation has no parental involvement whatsoever. Therefore, if a pregnant teen obtains an order for emancipation, her parents will then forfeit any right to decision-making regarding the unborn child.