It is important to know your rights and be persistent. Don’t let anyone pressure or coerce you into anything that you are not comfortable with.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
This amendment to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 guarantees a pregnant woman the following:
- Protection against discrimination during the hiring process.
- Protection against being fired because of being pregnant. If she is unable to perform her normal duties because of her pregnancy, she must be treated in the same manner as any other temporarily disabled employee.
- Health insurance coverage for pregnancy and pregnancy related illness must be equal to coverage for other medical conditions. If there are limits on benefits or restrictions, such as exemption for pre-existing conditions, pregnancy related benefits can be limited or excluded in the same proportion as other medical conditions.
- Disability benefits for pregnancy related conditions must be the same as benefits for other temporarily disabled employees. For more information about Pregnancy Discrimination check out the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). If you think you have been discriminated against contact a lawyer.
I fear a lack of support from the father.
Paternity Testing – If he is denying that he is the father of your baby, or if you’re not sure who the father is, a paternity test can legally establish paternity. This legal recognition of paternity is necessary for matters of child support and custodial rights. Generally, paternity tests are ordered through a physician or an attorney, but in most states anyone can ask for the test. DNA paternity tests performed by a laboratory are usually 99% accurate. DNA tests require either blood samples or cheek cells swabbed from the child, the alleged father and (if possible) the mother. It is not necessary for all parties to be in the same city or state. There are no age restrictions for paternity tests, and they can even be performed before the baby is born. Check with your OB/GYN about prenatal paternity testing. Look in the yellow pages under “Paternity Testing” for a laboratory near you.
I am in an abusive relationship.
Domestic Violence – Can increase during a woman’s pregnancy. Domestic violence involves fear, intimidation and power. Abuse takes many forms: physical, emotional, sexual, psychological and/or verbal. Unfortunately, violence often escalates if the victim doesn't seek help when the abuse first begins. Victims often think it’s their fault, but there’s never an excuse for abuse. You don’t have to put up with it. Call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at800-799-SAFE (7233) or visit them at www.ndvh.org. Communities often have hidden battered women shelters. The police should be able to assist you in locating a shelter.
As a pregnant woman or a mother, you also have rights to housing.