When it comes to pregnancy, there are 3 options to choose from: abortion, adoption, and parenting.
It is totally normal for people to have strong feelings, or values, about any of these options. One reality of life is that what’s right for one person may not be right for another. Part of enjoying the freedom of reproductive choice (meaning, getting to decide what happens with and to our body) is allowing others to do the same, even when we might not agree with their choices. Put simply, it’s not ok to judge someone or make someone feel bad if they make a different choice. And keep in mind, our values can change over time, so how we feel about pregnancy options can change a lot throughout our own lifetime.
In this section, we provide you with accurate and non-judgmental information on all three pregnancy options. We know that someone who is pregnant can make the right decision for themselves if they have access to accurate information and support.
If pregnancy is a possibility for you (like, if you are having penis-vagina sex), it’s great to figure out how you feel about your pregnancy options, and talk to a partner, ideally before having sex. We say this because no birth control method can prevent pregnancy 100% of the time, except of course for abstinence. This means that if you are having penis-vagina sex, there is always a chance (even if it’s a small one) of pregnancy, even if condoms or other forms of birth control are being used.
The choice of what to do about a pregnancy is always up to the girl or woman or person who is pregnant. This is because it is her body and her life that will be most affected.
If you want to learn more about how a pregnancy happens, check out the internal female anatomy section in the Bodies page.
- Pregnancy Signs & Testing
Signs of Pregnancy:
Nausea (wanting to throw up)
Missed period (sometimes spotting or a period that isn’t normal for that person)
Peeing a lot
Weight gain or loss
Sore or tender breasts
Change in appetite
* All of these signs can also happen right before someone gets their period (PMS).
If someone is unsure and had penis and vagina sex, she should get a pregnancy test.
Pregnancy tests are a pee test that checks for a certain hormone that shows up in the pee when someone is pregnant.
It is totally possible for a test to show up negative when in fact she is pregnant because it takes a while for the pregnancy hormone to show up in her pee.
If the test turns out negative, but she still doesn’t get her period for another couple of weeks, then the test results may have been wrong and she should get another test.
- How Might Someone Feel?
- People can feel lots of different emotions when they find out about a pregnancy, including feeling overwhelmed, happy, shocked, scared, excited, alone, angry, confused and in denial.
Denying something that is really hard to deal with or shocking is normal. Sometimes people don’t choose to be in denial, they just are. Someone might deny they are pregnant because they:
- are scared;
- don’t want to be pregnant;
- are scared of how they will be treated by other people;
- don’t know what to do or who to talk to.
If someone is denying a pregnancy for awhile, it could mean that they:
- may continue drinking, smoking or using drugs while pregnant;
- may miss the cut-off date for abortions (they can only be done up to 16/19 weeks);
- may miss important pre-natal appointments.
Drinking alcohol while pregnant can lead to complications such as Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) in a child.
- Where to Go
When deciding where to go for support or someone to talk to, looking for the following can be helpful:
- Accurate information
- Non-judgmental attitude
- Information about all 3 legal options
Where to go and who to talk to:
- Teen Clinics
- Public Health Nurse
- Community Health Clinic
- Child and Family Services (CFS)
- Phone Lines
Not all organizations, doctors or walk-ins are “pro-choice”, which means that some people may not give all the accurate information about all 3 pregnancy options (especially abortion).
If someone is looking for more information on all three options, it is important to look for places that are pro-choice rather than organizations that will only offer information on parenting or adoption or give inaccurate information about abortion.
Teen clinics / public health nurses can give her information and counselling on the three pregnancy options as well as help arrange appointments for whatever option she chooses.
Note: Ultimately, the person who is pregnant should always get to decide what happens with the pregnancy because it is her body and her life that will be most affected.
For the guy involved:
Counselling can help someone figure out how to cope if they do not agree with their partner’s decision. There is post abortion support, fathering support and adoption support available.
- safe and legal medical procedures to end a pregnancy
- do not require parental/guardian consent
- are free with a Manitoba Health Card
- are available in Manitoba up to 19 weeks, but there are only a couple of doctors that will do them up to 19 weeks
- are more accessible before or at 16 weeks of pregnancy
In Manitoba, abortions can be done in Brandon (up to 10 weeks) and Winnipeg (up to 16 or 19 weeks depending on the doctor).
In Winnipeg if someone needs to get one without parental permission it’s best to go to a Teen Clinic. They can help you get an appointment with a doctor who will do it without parental consent sooner.
48 hours after the birth, parents must sign a “Voluntary Surrendership Agreement” giving up parental rights. After this is signed, the birth parents have 21 days to change their mind. After the 21 days, all parental rights are permanently given over.
Openness agreements are available in all adoptions. This agreement can be used to keep contact between the birth and adoptive parents.
For information about adoption options, contact an adoption worker through Child and Family Services (CFS) at (204) 944-4200.
* If someone is under 18 and chooses to carry a pregnancy to term (give birth), CFS will get involved whether they place for adoption or parent. They intend to work with the person and help them with either option they choose. It is best if the pregnant person contacts CFS themselves as soon as they decide rather than waiting for CFS to contact them.
- If someone is parenting and under 18, Child & Family Services (CFS) must open a file on the parent and child to make sure everything is okay. CFS has workers that will help young parents become more comfortable and adjust to being a parent. Contacting CFS as soon as someone makes the decision to parent is a good way to show responsibility. Teen Clinics / Public Health Nurses as well as a CFS worker can help connect young parents with available parenting programs and resources in the community.
Questions About Pregnancy Options: