Teenagers often have sex, as it is fun and exciting. The last thing you think about or worry about is that your girlfriend might fall pregnant.
Teenage boys do not always worry about pregnancy as a possible result of their sexual behavior. They do not always wear condoms, sometimes do not know how to put the condom on properly and feel that they will not fall pregnant and therefor prevention of pregnancy is the girl’s responsibility and not theirs. So if your girlfriend all of a sudden tells you that she is pregnant what are you supposed to do? What is teenage pregnancy and how does it affect you and your relationship?
Teenage relationships vary dramatically. Not all boys are committed to the relationship or feel responsible for the unfortunate outcome. Some boys will feel very quality and they want the girl to keep the pregnancy and marry him. His parents can also be involved and put a great deal of pressure on the girl to do what they prefer. In other situations the boy starts running never to be seen again.
So where do you start?
The obvious place to start is with the South African Laws related to sexual activity among teenagers. This stipulates that:
Teenagers between the ages of 12 and 15 can decide to be sexually active. This decision is a mutual decision and both parties consent to it. Sexual activities under these circumstances are legal and allowed.
If however one of the partners is above 16 years old, it is regarded as statuary rape. This means that any person, male or female, above the age of 16, is not allowed to have sex with another person if that person is 15 or younger than 15 years old.
If you are 17 years old and your girlfriend 15 then sexual activities in that relationship is regarded as statuary rape and it is illegal under the South African Law. Many teenagers or their parents are not aware of this but it is possible for the parents of the girl to accuse you of raping their daughter and reporting it to the South African Police Services.
If you impregnate a teenage girl, you have no Legal Rights regarding that pregnancy. It does not matter what promises you make to the girl but if you are not married, and were not married at the time of her falling pregnant, all the decisions regarding the pregnancy and what happens to the pregnancy are her decisions. You cannot make any suggestions or demands. She can listen and respect your opinion but she need not take it into consideration or react upon it.
If she chooses to keep the baby she can expect maintenance from you but she will have to prove to the court that you are the biological father.
If she chooses to terminate the pregnancy or give it up for adoption, she can go ahead and implement her decision without letting you know when and what she plans to do. She is also under no obligation to even tell you that she is or was pregnant.
The bottom-line here is that the unmarried father has no legal rights regarding the unborn baby of a teenage mother within the South African legal system. Apart from giving her a great deal of emotional support there is not much else that you can do.