Sexual and Reproductive Health

What is a gynecologist? 

A gynecologist is a doctor that specializes in reproductive health. 

Will I be able to see a gynecologist?

Yes, you can see a gynecologist if you are having monthly cycle issues, are sexually active, need to be tested for a sexually transmitted disease (STD), or are interested in receiving birth control. If you are under the age of 18, you need to talk to your legal guardian to make an appointment.

No, what you talk to the doctor about is confidential, meaning it will not be told to anyone, unless you have told the doctor this is ok in writing. This might have been done at your first visit, so if you are unsure if you have told the doctor it is ok to talk to others about your medical info, ask your doctor if your conversations will be shared with anyone else. You can also tell your doctor that you would like to speak with them privately if someone else is in the room. If you report that you are being abused or neglected, doctors must report this. Make sure to ask your doctor about what might be shared with others if you aren’t sure.

How do I get birth control?

Your gynecologist will give you an exam of your reproductive parts and can prescribe birth control, which could be a pill you take once a day to stop you from becoming pregnant. Birth control can also come in the form of a shot, or something inserted into your body. There are many options, and you can talk to your doctor to figure out what is best for you. Be sure to talk with your doctor about whether you can get birth control at their office or have them mailed to your home. Birth control can also help with cramps and irregular periods. Make sure to talk to your doctor if you have any of these issues. If you are married, are a parent, are pregnant, or your doctor believes your health is in danger if you do not get contraceptive services, then you do not need permission from your parent or guardian to get birth control.

Does Medicaid pay for birth control?

Yes, your Medicaid plan pays for the cost of your prescribed birth control.

What is not paid for under Medicaid?

Medicaid does not pay for condoms or Emergency Contraceptive Pills (also known as the Plan B pill or the morning after pill). This pill is bought at a pharmacy in an emergency to prevent unplanned pregnancy if you are not on birth control already and must be taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex. Anyone can purchase Emergency Contraceptive Pills (Plan B) in Florida, even if you are under the age of 18.

If I am pregnant and want to end the pregnancy, can I have an abortion?

If you are under 18, you can receive an abortion if:

  • You are married OR
  • You already have a child OR
  • Your parent or legal guardian provides consent on a notarized form with a copy of your state ID OR
  • Your parent or legal guardian waives consent OR
  • You get a waiver through the court

DCF or anyone who works for DCF CANNOT consent to an abortion on your behalf if you are in DCF custody.

Yes, if you get an abortion and you are under the age of 18 then the doctor is required to tell your parent or legal guardian at least 48 hours before you get the abortion. Telling your parent or legal guardian is not required if:

  • You are married
  • You already have a child
  • Your parent/legal guardian has waived notice (usually done by signing a form when paperwork is completed at your first gynecologist appointment)
  • You have been legally emancipated,
  • You obtain a waiver of notice through the court.

Are there other ways I can have an abortion without my parent or guardian being told?

Yes, you can get a “judicial waiver of notice” through the court. You must show to the court that you are mature enough to decide to end your pregnancy without involving your parent/legal guardian. If you want to get an abortion and do not want your parent/guardian to know or are worried they won’t agree, it is best to ask the court to appoint you an attorney, at no cost to you, to discuss with them. You can also ask your guardian ad litem or case manager for help, but they are not required to keep conversations they have with you private. Any conversations you have with an attorney are completely private and can never be repeated by your attorney.

To obtain a waiver of notice for an abortion, you will first file an anonymous petition (meaning not even your name will be on it) with the court along with a sworn statement by you stating your name, your address, your birth date, and the date of filing your petition. You can ask a trusted adult to help you with this. Your name will not appear on the petition, and your sworn statement will stay confidential (private) at all times. At no time will your filing be sent to a parent or legal guardian.  Instead, all court filings will be sent to a trusted person of your choice. You have the right to a lawyer, and the court will appoint one at no cost for you if you request to have one. It is also possible for your attorney in your dependency case to represent you in this hearing if they are able.

Three business days after you file your petition, the court will have a hearing. You may bring anyone you want to this hearing. Your attorney will also be in this hearing.  This hearing will be closed to the public and remain confidential (private) at all times. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court will enter an order either allowing you to waive notice of an abortion or denying the waiver.  You have the right to appeal any order if you do not agree with the judge’s decision.

Will Medicaid pay for my abortion?

Medicaid does not cover the cost of abortions, but many clinics will give you a low rate or provide an abortion at no cost to you if you have Medicaid.

What if I want to keep the baby?

If you decide to have the baby the State and DCF will help you. You should receive prenatal care, infant care classes, birthing classes, and a safe place to live during and after your pregnancy.

The Law

Fla. Admin. Code R. 59G-4.030, Fla. Stat. sec. 381.0051, 390.01114, 456.057, 984.19, Fla. R. Juv. P. 8.805, 8.815, 8.820

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