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
- Louisiana state law does not overtly require sex ed to be taught in school, but as of the 2014-2015 school year, students are required to take a half-credit of health education.
- Students are to “learn about sexual abstinence and sexual risk behaviors…[and] receive human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted disease (STD) education.”
- Abstinence until marriage is stressed.
- Parents or guardians can take their child or children out of sex ed. This is called and “opt-out” policy.
- If you want your school to offer a comprehensive sex ed in your school, be sure to learn more at SIECUS about Louisiana. You can make a difference!
HIV/AIDS and Other STDs Education
- Louisiana sex ed promotes abstinence as the only completely effective protection against HIV, STDs, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy.
- Teaching about contraceptives, such as condoms or the Pill, is not required.
Age of Minority
- The age when someone is no longer considered a minor in Louisiana, as in most states, 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, are a pregnant or married minor or if you are in jail.
- Being a minor affects your right to information and services. To learn more, read on!
Age of Consent
- Legally, people can’t consent (or agree) to sex (with someone who is considered an adult) until they reach a specific age. This is called the “age of consent.”Consent laws are meant to protect minors from being manipulated or forced into sex with older people.
- In Louisiana, you can consent to sex when you become 17 years old, but there are exceptions for teens.
- A teen who is between 13 and 15 can consent to sex with someone who is up to three years older than them. A teen between 15 and 17 can legally consent to sex with someone who is no more than 2 years older than them.
- There are also exceptions to consent laws for those who are married.
- Public schools in Louisiana have no laws in place to prevent harassment, bullying or discrimination of students based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Louisiana even has a law that states that teachers can’t instruct students on LGBTQ health issues as well as law that prohibits communities from creating local protections against bullying and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- There are also no statewide anti-bullying laws to protect Louisiana students based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
- State hate crimes laws include 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 or should have to put up with it.
HIV / AIDS Testing
- Many states include HIV testing and treatment among the sexually transmitted infection (STI) services that those under 18 may consent to, but Louisiana does not. This doesn’t mean you can’t find confidential testing if you’re a minor. Read on!
- In Louisiana, it’s important to know that a health care provider may—but is not required to—inform your parents of testing or treatment for certain sexual health care.
- It’s important 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 diseases, including HIV.
- To make sure your visit is confidential, tell the clinic staff how to contact you about test results and future appointments without your parents knowing.
- 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 Louisiana, minors (those under 18) who are married can get a prescription for birth control without a parent’s permission. Minors can consent to health care if (in consultation with a health care provider) it is determined that they require treatment that includes hormonal birth control.
- Clinics called “Title X clinics”—pronounced “title ten”—provide confidential 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 confidential, including your billing and your records.
- 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.
- Call 1-800-230-PLAN (7526) for the nearest Planned Parenthood.
- Or use this tool to find a Title X clinic near you:
- 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.
- In Louisiana, if you are under 18 and want an abortion, one parent must give permission before you can get one. This is called “parental consent.” If this isn’t possible or it’s not best for you, you are able to ask a judge for permission. This is called “judicial bypass.”
- There is a 24-hour waiting period in Louisiana before someone can get an abortion. So, once you have a parent’s or a judge’s permission, you have to wait before getting an abortion.
- All those seeking an abortion are required to have an in-person counseling session before getting one, so you have to make two trips to the abortion provider.
- Your state provides Medicaid (health care) coverage for abortions in cases of the pregnant person’s life endangerment or if the pregnancy is a result of rape and incest.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- If you’re having trouble accessing EC, 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.
- Kentucky does not require emergency rooms to provide EC or information on ED 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 Louisiana, no one under the age of 17 can use an electronic device, including a computer or cell phone, to send sexually explicit photos of themselves to another person or have on their device a sexually explicit picture that was sent to them by another person under the age of 17.
- Be aware that having someone’s permission to take or share images of them is important, but even if you have permission, taking or sharing nude or sexual images of someone under 18, even yourself, could be considered illegal.
“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.
“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.
“Minors’ Authority to Consent to STI Services,” Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, March 2017, https://www.kff.org/hivaids/state-indicator/minors-right-to-consent/ 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 Profiles Fiscal Year 2017, Louisiana,” 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: Louisiana,” RAINN, 2017, https://www.rainn.org/laws-your-state-louisiana Accessed December 2017.
“Women’s Right to Know: For Minors,” Louisiana Department of Health, http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov/index.cfm/page/1091 Accessed December 2017.