The term embryo refers to a developing human from conception until the eighth week. An embryo becomes a fetus after the eighth week. Embryo and fetal ages in this brochure are listed from both the estimated date of conception and from the first day of the last normal menstrual period. Fetal lengths are measured from the top of the head to the rump.
If you decide to place your baby up for adoption or need to locate public and private agencies that offer medical and financial help, as well as counseling services, a list is included in the Directory of Services at www.pregnancyinfo.la.gov.
By calling or visiting the agencies and offices listed in the directory, you can find out about alternatives to abortion, adoption and the kinds of assistance available to help you through pregnancy, childbirth and while you are raising your child.
Furthermore, you should know:
- You can’t be forced. It is unlawful for anyone to make you have an abortion against your will, even if you are a minor. In fact, forcing a minor to have an abortion is considered child abuse. If you are a minor being forced into making a particular decision, you can report it to the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) at www.dcfs.state.la.us or by calling the Child Protection Hotline at 855-4LA-KIDS (855-452-5437). The call is free and the hotline operates 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
- You and the father. The father of your child must provide support of the child, even if he has offered to pay for an abortion. DCFS can help you locate your child’s father and determine whether he is the father. DCFS can also help establish and enforce child support orders and collection, as well as distribution of child support payments. To learn more about Child Enforcement Services, visit www.dcfs.state.la.us or call the customer service center at 800-256-4650.
- You and adoption. The law allows adoptive parents to pay costs of prenatal care, childbirth and newborn care. To learn more about adoption services and the organizations available to assist you, visit http://www.childwelfare.gov/adoption/.
- You are not alone. Many agencies are willing to help you carry your child to term and to assist after your child’s birth. This includes access to health care services for mother and baby, supplies, healthy food items, nutrition education and in-home support.