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
- Georgia state law requires sex ed is taught in public schools.
- The state board of education in Georgia decides the grade levels subject are taught as well as the guidelines for sex ed curriculum, and instruction must “emphasize abstinence from sexual activity until marriage and fidelity in marriage as important personal goals.”
- Teaching about contraceptives, such as condoms or the Pill, is not required by Georgia law.
- Although they must be notified, teens in Georgia do not need their parents’ permission to participate in sexuality education or HIV/AIDS education classes. Parents can take their children out of sex ed classes if they wish, though, by sending a notice to their child’s school. This is called an “opt out” policy.
- If you want your school to offer a comprehensive sexuality education class in your school, you can learn more at SIECUS. You can make a difference!
HIV/AIDS and Other STDs Education
- Georgia state law requires STDs and HIV/AIDS education is provided to public school students.
Age of Minority
- The age when someone is no longer considered a minor in Georgia 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 Georgia, you can legally consent to sex when you become 16 years old.
- Public schools in Georgia have no Safe Schools Law in effect, which is a statewide anti-harassment and/or nondiscrimination law that includes the categories of sexual orientation and gender identity. But some school districts have decided to adopt their own Safe Schools policies.
- There are statewide anti-bullying laws to protect students against bullying that’s based on sexual orientation but there aren’t any protecting for those targeted due to gender identity.
- State hate crimes laws do not include sexual orientation or 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 don’t need permission from your parent or guardian to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or HIV in Georgia.
- If you’re a minor (under 18), it’s important for you to ask questions about confidentiality when you call to make your appointment. Specifically ask, “If I make an appointment and receive any kind of services at your clinic, will you tell my parents or anyone else?” This applies to all services, including testing for pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV.
- Georgia offers both anonymous and confidential HIV testing. This means that if you get tested for HIV, you can choose to either have your results confidentially reported to the health department using your name, or have your results anonymously reported to the health department using a number code, not your name.
- 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.
- Minors are allowed to get birth control without a parent’s permission. This is actually spelled out in Georgia law.
- Clinics called “Title X clinics”—pronounced “title ten—provide sexual and reproductive health care to both teens and adults. Title X clinics offer many services, including prescriptions for the Pill, pregnancy option counseling, and testing for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases and infections, including HIV.
- If you go to a Title X clinic, your appointment will be completely confidential.
- These clinics charge on what’s called a sliding-scale fee basis, which means they help you pay 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.
- Use this tool to find a Title X clinic near you:
- Or call 1-800-230-PLAN (7526) for the nearest Planned Parenthood.
- When you make an appointment for health care, ask about confidentiality rules. When you call, 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, so don’t worry about asking these questions.
- If you are in Georgia, under 18 years old and want an abortion, one parent must be notified before 24 hours before you can get one. This is called “parental notification.” If that’s not possible or not best for you, you are able to ask a judge for permission to go ahead with the abortion without notifying your parents. This is called “judicial bypass.”
- There is a 24-hour mandatory waiting period in Georgia before someone can get an abortion. This rule can be ignored in a medical emergency.
- Georgia provides Medicaid (health care) coverage for some abortions: 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.
- 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.
- Use this tool to find a Title X clinic near you:
- Or call 1-800-230-PLAN (7526) for the nearest Planned Parenthood.
- 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.
- To find an EC provider, 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.
- Georgia does not require emergency rooms to provide EC or information on 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.
- Georgia has specific laws that address sexting. Sexting can be punished as a misdemeanor. Sexting falls also under state child pornography regulations, which state that pictures of a person under 18 engaged in sexual behaviors is a crime.
- Laws about sexting have been changed in recent years so that teens who consensually share sexts are not as heavily punished.
- The laws around sexting can be confusing so be aware that having someone’s permission to take or share images of them is important, and taking or sharing nude or sexual images of someone under 18 can lead to arrest.
“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.
“Counseling and Waiting Periods for Abortion,” State Laws and Policies, Guttmacher Institute, December 2017, https://www.guttmacher.org/state-policy/explore/counseling-and-waiting-periods-abortion 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 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.
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.
“Safe Schools Laws,” Movement Advancement Project, 2017, http://www.lgbtmap.org/equality-maps/safe_school_laws 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 Sexting Laws” Cyberbullying.org, July 2015, http://cyberbullying.org/state-sexting-laws.pdf Accessed December 2017.
“The Laws in Your State: Georgia,” RAINN, December 2016, https://www.rainn.org/laws-your-state-georgia Accessed December 2017.