Reproductive Rights

Welcome to the Reproductive Rights department of Divorce and FamilyLawService Center. Here will discuss the definition of reproductive rights. We will touch on the Pregnancy Discrimination Act and the Family Leave Act. We will also discuss different birthing options, abortion, adoption, and birth control for minors.

What are Reproductive Rights?

Reproductive rights are certain freedoms couples and individual have in regards to reproduction and reproductive health. These rights are to be free from discrimination, coercion, or violence and deal with the timing and spacing of having children.

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act

The Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 is an amendment to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It states that a woman may not be discriminated against because of a pregnancy or related medical conditions. Recently , some courts consider abortion a related medical condition to pregnancy. This means a woman cannot be fired or failed to be hired simply because she is pregnant or has had an abortion. The conditions are to be treated the same as any other temporary disabled employee. Employers must hold the employee’s position the same length of time held open for employees on sick or disability leave.

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

The Family and Medical Leave Act allows eligible employees to take time off without pay without losing their medical benefits or their position at work. FMLA is only allowed for specific reasons. The reasons that fall under our Reproductive Rights department would be the birth of a child and the inclusion of an adoptive child or foster child into the home. To receive the benefit of FMLA the employee must be working for a covered employer, work at a worksite within 75 miles of which that employer employs 50 people, work at least 12 months (does not have to be consecutive) for the employer, and worked at least 1,250 hours during the 12 months immediately before the date FMLA leave begins.


Every woman has the right to have her child born in the manner she desires. This could mean at the hospital with a doctor and/or a midwife, at a birth center with a midwife (who in most states has to be affiliated with a doctor and hospital), or at home. A woman and her family can weigh the risks, benefits, and costs to make a decision that works best for their given circumstance.


Abortion is an induced miscarriage. The timing and spacing of pregnancies and children are a woman’s right. Women have many very personal reasons for having an abortion. Their right to privacy in regards to something so intimate protects them from judgement. In some states, women under the age of 18 do not need parental consent to get an abortion. If a minor lives in a state where parental consent is necessary, the minor can go before a judge to obtain the judge’s consent instead. After an abortion is performed, take it easy. Allow the body and mind to go through the healing process.


Please visit the Adoption department for further information. Adoption could be an option for an unwanted pregnancy. The biological parents’ rights over the child end when the adoption is final. States have different windows of consent, from 2 to 8 days, after birth that the birth mother can change her mind about the adoption and not give consent. Another option is open adoption. This means the biological mother does not give up all rights to the baby. Typically, an open adoption allows child visitation to the birth mother.

Birth Control and Minors

Each state has differing laws on whether a minor can be prescribed birth control. 21 states explicitly allow minors to obtain birth control without parental consent. 25 states allow minors to receive birth control under certain conditions (for example: level of maturity, high school diploma, or married status.) 4 states have no explicit policy, but a physician can still provide medical care to a mature minor without parental consent.