Contraception and pregnancy

Contraception and pregnancy

If you are a young person thinking about having sex, you need to understand your rights and the law, as well as the physical and emotional consequences.

Talk to an older person you trust, such as a family member. If you do not feel comfortable with this, you can talk to your doctor or a family planning clinic about contraception and sexually transmissible infections.

Young people and contraception

If you’re under 18 you may be able to get contraception, like the pill, from a doctor. This depends on whether the doctor thinks you’re mature enough to understand what you’re doing and to use the contraception properly. Make sure you know your doctor’s rules about confidentiality.

You can buy condoms at any age – there are no restrictions. Most chemists and supermarkets sell them.

Pregnancy

It’s important to know that you have options if you have an unplanned pregnancy. A counsellor, nurse or doctor can help you think through your choices. These can include:

  • going ahead with the pregnancy and keeping the baby
  • going ahead with the pregnancy and adopting out the baby
  • having an abortion.

Medical and health professionals shouldn’t judge your situation. Your decisions should be private. If you’re not happy with the medical or health professional you’re talking to, you can get a second opinion or make a complaint.

Young mothers

There’s no minimum age for keeping your baby. What matters is your ability to support yourself and the baby, and to make sure the baby is safe. If you’re under 16 and someone’s worried about your welfare or your baby’s, that person may call the Department of Human Services.

Fathers’ responsibilities

If you father a child, you are legally responsible for financially supporting the child. It doesn’t matter how young you are. If you can’t support the child because you’re still at school and don’t earn any money, you may have to pay later when you can afford to.

If you’re proved to be the father, you have to make child support payments until the child is 18.

Abortion

There’s no age limit on getting an abortion. If you are under 18 you may be able to get an abortion without your parents’ or guardian’s consent if the doctor thinks that you’re mature enough to understand what you’re doing.

If you’re thinking about having an abortion, get advice from a doctor or Family Planning Victoria early in your pregnancy. Most abortions are performed in the first twelve weeks of a pregnancy. You can still have an abortion up to 24 weeks of pregnancy but there’s a lot to think about.

Abortion is legal in Victoria after 24 weeks in some circumstances but it is rare that an abortion would be performed this late.

Get help

Find out how you can get help with sex and the law.