Sex in the States
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Wondering what's going on in your state? See how your state stacks up on sexuality issues for teens. And don't forget to find out how to make a difference on these issues.
Sex ed Rights
- Florida state law requires public schools provide sex ed. Though students are to be taught comprehensive sex ed, abstinence is to be stressed as the only completely effective protection against unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and HIV/AIDS.
- Schools boards that decide to include additional HIV/AIDS instruction in sex ed courses must also teach abstinence outside of marriage as the “expected standard for all school-age students while teaching the benefits of monogamous heterosexual marriage.”
- Think this is discriminatory? Check out the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) website to see how you can help change this policy.
- State-grant PREP (Personal Responsibility Education Program) grants support “evidence-based programs that provide young people with medically accurate and age-appropriate information for the prevention of unintended pregnancy, HIV/AIDS, and other STDs.” Forty-five states receive PREP funding. Florida declined to receive these funds.
- In Florida, teens do not need their parents’ permission to participate in sex ed instruction, but—with a written request—parents can take their children out of sex ed classes, including reproductive health classes.
- If you live in Florida and want your school to offer comprehensive sex ed, learn more at SIECUS about Florida. You can make a difference!
Age of Minority
• The age when someone is no longer considered a minor in Florida is 18. Therefore, you are legally considered an adult at age 18.
• Keep in mind that these laws may be different for you if you are legally considered an emancipated minor, pregnant minor or married minor.
• Being a minor (under 18) affects your right to information and services. To learn more, read on!
Age of Consent
- Legally, people can’t consent (or agree) to sex until they reach a specific age. This is called the “age of consent.”These laws are meant to protect minors from being manipulated or forced into sex with older people.
- In Florida, you can legally consent to sex when you become 16 years old. If one person is at least 16 but less than 18, legally, the teen cannot consent to sex if the other person is 24 or older.
- Public schools in Florida have no Safe Schools Law in effect, which is a statewide anti-harassment and/or nondiscrimination law that out laws mistreatment in schools based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- There are no statewide anti-bullying laws to protect LBGTQ students.
- There are statewide anti-discrimination laws, but they do not clearly include sexual orientation or gender identity.
- State hate crime law covers sexual orientation but not gender identity.
- If discrimination, harassment or a hate crime happens to you or someone you know, please call the Gay and Lesbian National Hotline at 1-888-THE-GLNH (843-4564) for help and support, or check out Lambda Legal. No one deserves harassment!
HIV / AIDS Testing
- You do not need permission from a parent or guardian to get tested or treated for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and HIV in Florida
- If you’re concerned about privacy, you can ask about it when you call to make your appointment. It’s a good idea to ask, “If I make an appointment and receive any kind of services there, will you tell my parents or anyone else?”
- Also, tell the clinic staff how to contact you privately if necessary.
- Find an HIV testing site in your area here or call the Centers for Disease Control’s 24-hour National AIDS Hotline at 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636).
- People of any age, including teens, can buy condoms from a drugstore, pharmacy, grocery store or even online. A pack of twelve condoms costs about $12. Internal or female condoms are about $2 to $4 per condom.
- You can get condoms for free or at a reduced cost from health clinics (like Planned Parenthood), HIV testing centers and local health departments. Call 1-800-230-PLAN (7526) for the nearest Planned Parenthood.
- Always check the expiration date on condoms to make sure that the condoms haven’t expired yet. For information on how to use a condom correctly, check out this FAQ. Learn all about internal/female condoms on Sexetc.org.
- In Florida, a teen can get a prescription for birth control without a parent’s permission in one or more of the following situations:
- is married
- is a parent
- health reasons
- is pregnant or has ever been pregnant
- Title X (pronounced “ten”) clinics provide sexual and reproductive health care to the public (girls, boys, teens and adults). Title X clinics offer many services, including prescriptions for the birth control, pregnancy option counseling, and testing for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
- These clinics charge on a sliding-scale basis, which means they can work with you to help you pay only what you can afford, and you can pay in cash. If you pay for your visit by using your family’s health insurance, then your parents are likely to see the bill when it arrives in the mail.
- Call 1-800-230-PLAN (7526) for the nearest Planned Parenthood Health Center.
Or find a Title X clinic with this tool:
- Wherever you go for your appointment, you might want to ask about their confidentiality rules when making the appointment. Ask:
- Can I get services at your office without my parents’ permission?
- Can my parent/s have access to my records?
- Will my parent/s see the bill?
- It is your right to get sexual and reproductive health care where you feel safe and comfortable!
This section is currently being updated and may not have the most current information (as you know, these laws have been shifting quickly). We are working to refresh it ASAP! For now, you can see updated abortion policies here.
- If you are under 18 years old and want an abortion, you are required to tell one of your parent/s or guardians about it 48 hours before the procedure.
- There are several ways for this notification to be skipped, such as asking a judge to excuse this requirement. This is called “judicial bypass.” Your abortion provider will be able to explain the steps for bypassing (skipping) parental notification, or you can get more information by calling the National Abortion Federation Hotline at 1-800-772-9100, Monday–Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time).
- You do not need parental notification if you are receiving an abortion for a medical emergency.
- There is a mandatory waiting period in Florida for those seeking abortion, but it is temporarily blocked by the court system. This means it could be the case in the future that a waiting period will be required before teens and adults can get an abortion.
- Florida provides Medicaid (public health care) coverage for some, not all, medically necessary abortions.
- Medicaid can be used in cases of rape, incest and life endangerment. If you need help paying for an abortion, call the National Abortion Federation Hotline at 1-800-772-9100, Monday–Friday, 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.; Saturday–Sunday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. (Eastern Daylight Time). The hotline can tell you where and how to get financial help for an abortion in the U.S.
- To learn about adoption, visit the National Council for Adoption.
- You do not need a prescription from a doctor or health care provider to get a pregnancy test. You can purchase a pregnancy test from a pharmacy, grocery store or online. They cost between $10 and $18. You can also take a pregnancy test at a doctor’s office or clinic, like Planned Parenthood. Many clinics offer free or reduced-cost pregnancy tests.
- All visits to clinics known as Title X (ten) clinics are confidential for teens and adults.
- Call 1-800-230-PLAN (7526) for the nearest Planned Parenthood.
- Or use this tool to find a Title X clinic near you:
- If you pay for your visit by using your family’s health insurance, your parents are likely to see the details of your visit when the bill arrives. Almost all clinics provide free or reduced-cost services to teens to make it easier to afford services.
- To make sure your visit is confidential, tell the clinic staff how to contact you privately about test results and future appointments.
- Beware of so-called crisis pregnancy centers (CPCs). These centers claim to give you complete and accurate information about your pregnancy options when they actually want to discourage you from getting an abortion. They offer misleading and medically inaccurate information about abortion. Common names of these centers are “Crisis Pregnancy Center,” “Pregnancy Aid,” “Birth Right,” “Open Door” or “Pregnancy Counseling Center.” They are often set up near clinics and Planned Parenthood locations in order to confuse patients to accidentally enter the CPC instead.
- There are several types—or “brands”—of emergency contraception, sometimes called EC or the morning after pill.
- People of any age can buy the brand Plan B One Step and its generic versions at a local pharmacy over the counter, which means you can buy EC without a prescription.
- EC sells for between $35 and $60. Prices vary depending on the brand and the pharmacy.
- Florida has a law that’s written so that it may be possible for a pharmacist to refuse to fill a contraception prescription, including prescription-based brands of EC. It’s important to be aware of this possibility and know your rights. Remember there are brands available on the shelf that don’t require a pharmacist’s assistance!
- To find a provider or clinic near you, call the Emergency Contraception Hotline at 1-888-NOT-2-LATE (668-2528). They can help you find access to EC if you’re having any trouble at all.
- Florida does not require emergency rooms to provide EC to rape survivors.
- If you have been raped and you want EC, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). Open 24 hours, the hotline will connect you to EC providers near you. For other helpful information, check out the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network’s Web site.
- In Florida, minors sending photos of themselves or other minors can result in criminal charges.
- Florida’s sexting laws have been through a lot of changes over the past several years so it’s important to keep in mind that laws about sexting change regularly.
“An Overview of Abortion Laws,” State Laws and Policies,” Guttmacher Institute, December 2017, https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/overview-abortion-laws Accessed December 2017.
“An Overview of Minors’ Consent Laws,” State Laws and Policies, Guttmacher Institute, December 2017, https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/overview-minors-consent-law Accessed December 2017.
“Citizen’s Guide to United States Federal Child Exploitation and Obscenity Laws,” The U.S. Department of Justice, November 2015, https://www.justice.gov/criminal-ceos/citizens-guide-us-federal-child-exploitation-and-obscenity-laws Accessed December 2017.
“Emergency Contraception,” State Laws and Policies, Guttmacher Institute, December 2017, https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/emergency-contraception Accessed December 2017.
“Emergency Room Requirements to Offer Emergency Contraception Services to Sexual Assault Survivors,” Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, June 2017, https://www.kff.org/womens-health-policy/state-indicator/emergency-room-ec-requirements/ Accessed December 2017.
“Mandatory Waiting Periods For Women Seeking Abortion,” Kaiser Family Foundation, April 2017, https://www.kff.org/womens-health-policy/state-indicator/mandatory-waiting-periods/ Accessed December 2017.
“Minors’ Access to Contraceptive Services,” State Laws and Policies, Guttmacher Institute, December 2017, https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/minors-access-contraceptive-services Accessed December 2017.
“Minors’ Access to STI Services,” State Laws and Policies, Guttmacher Institute, December 2017, https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/minors-access-sti-services Accessed December 2017.
“Parental Consent and Notification Laws,” Planned Parenthood, 2017, https://www.plannedparenthood.org/learn/teens/preventing-pregnancy-stds/parental-consent-and-notification-laws Accessed December 2017.
“Parental Involvement in Minors’ Abortions,” State Laws and Policies, Guttmacher Institute, December 2017, https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/parental-involvement-minors-abortions Accessed December 2017.
“Refusing to Provide Health Services,” State Laws and Policies, Guttmacher Institute, December 2017, https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/refusing-provide-health-services Accessed December 2017.
“Safe Schools Laws,” Movement Advancement Project, 2017, http://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/safe_school_laws Accessed December 2017.
“Sex and HIV Education,” State Laws and Policies, Guttmacher Institute, December 2017, https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/sex-and-hiv-education Accessed December 2017.
“State Funding of Abortion Under Medicaid,” State Laws and Policies, Guttmacher Institute, December 2017, https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/state-funding-abortion-under-medicaid Accessed December 2017.
“State Laws and Policies Across the United States,” SIECUS, www.siecus.org, 2017, Accessed December 2017.
State Profiles Fiscal Year 2017, Florida,” SIECUS, www.siecus.org, 2017, Accessed December 2017.
“State Laws, Florida,” Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, September 2000. https://aspe.hhs.gov/report/state-laws Accessed December 2017.
“The Laws in Your State: Florida,” RAINN, December 2016, https://www.rainn.org/laws-your-state-florida Accessed December 2017.
“2017 Florida Statutes: 847.0141 Sexting; Prohibited Acts; Penalties,” The Florida Senate, 2017, https://www.flsenate.gov/Laws/Statutes/2017/847.0141 Accessed December 2017.