Abortion in teenage girls
Teenagers in the United States considered sex as an ordinary part of their teenage life. Large number of them, which is more than 80 % young girls, had sex before reaching the age of 20. This trend of pre-marital sex is common in first-world countries and the problems related to this are becoming a big concern of the society. Unexpected pregnancy is the major consequence which needs proper attention from the authorities. Programs regarding sex education and the use of different contraceptives are being undertaken to minimize the growing number of pregnancy especially among young women. To effectively respond to the problem, deeper study on the aspects related to this is undertaken.
The figures of birthrates as well as the rates of pregnancy and abortion usually involves the women under the age of 15 to 19 (Henshaw and Feivelson). In most cases of premarital sex, it is too late already before they realize the possible effects and that they are not yet ready to face complicated responsibilities related to these. Unfortunately, most of these women are not aware on the possible problems resulting from having sexual intercourse at an early age. Based on reports, almost a million of young girls in the U.S. got pregnant every year wherein majority of them not given proper attention and care (“Teenage Abortion”). Knowing the complex situation and realizing that they are not ready for these, most of the pregnant young girls resort to abortion. Being chosen as scapegoat for the problem, abortion is not an easy solution considering the moral and spiritual issues connected.
Taking the life and all the chances of the baby and putting the life of the mother in danger are the main issues that needed consideration. In addition to these are some effects on the psychological aspect of the mother such as despair, guilt and the feeling of emptiness and being worthless. This could also be a possible cause of breast cancer and other complications that might cause the death of the mother (“Teenage Abortion”). Women, who do not want the condition to be known by their parents, undertake abortion on their own, facing its side effects alone, although there is a risk of the procedure being life threatening (“Parental Consent/notification for teen abortions.”).
Almost 10% of young women in the United States in with the age 15 – 19 became pregnant. Some of them gave birth, some had miscarriage and others resorted to abortion. This 1996 statistics on pregnancy in the U.S. is the highest compares to other developed countries with more accurate information on abortion and other pregnancy related data (Singh and Darroch). Recent development shows that the rate of pregnancy is going down so as abortion and birth rate. Data show that 1990 got the highest rate of 17 % and gone down to 4 % between 1995 and 1996. This refers only to the women of age 15 – 19 (Henshaw and Feivelson).
Statistics also shows that the rate of pregnancy among young women with more experience in sex is lower when compared to those that just had sex and became pregnant. Based on national survey in 1988, taken from 800 to10,000 respondent women with 15 – 19 age bracket, 53 % had less sexual experience, 51 % in 1995 (Singh S and Darroch ). On the other hand, experienced women had 19 % pregnancy rate in 1996 based on separate survey on 1,000 respondents. It reduces from the peak high of 22.4 % in 1990 and 21.1 % in 1986 (Henshaw and Feivelson).
Teenage abortion in ethnic groups
Rate of abortion, like pregnancy rate, is high among black women. This is followed by the Hispanics and the lowest is among the non-Hispanic white. From the survey of 1,000 teenage women, 63 who had abortion are black, 39 are Hispanics and 19 are non-Hispanic white. While pregnancy rate gone down, abortion reduces ahead of it and this is true for all the races. Based on the data of 1990 to 1996, abortion for non-Hispanic white goes has gone down significantly by 41%. In the same source, black goes down by 22 %. For Hispanic teenagers, the highest was in 1992 with 4.3 % out of 1,000 respondent then goes down by 10 % in 1996 (Henshaw and Feivelson).
A survey in 1996 on pregnant women shows that 41 % who resorted to abortion are black, 34 % are non-Hispanic whites 28 % are Hispanics. This trend lately falls differently among non-whites wherein their abortion rate goes down more significantly compared to black and Hispanics (Henshaw and Feivelson). In the same year (1996), a survey on 1,000 teenage women in the United States was conducted. Out of the total respondent, 97 pregnancies occurred, 54 births and 29 abortions. These statistics continuously goes down since 1992 at the national level in almost all states. However, results remain high when compared to other developed nations. As compared to birth rate, abortion rate drops more dramatically. In 1992 data, 36 out of 1,000 women got abortion which is equivalent to 3.6 % while the birthrate is 6.1 %. This shows that most of the young women are still having uncontrolled premarital sex and got pregnant after. Although these rates (pregnancy, birth and abortion) are going down, the percentages in decline are different in other states and it is noticed that these rates are commonly high in the south and southwest. It also observed that abortion in particular is very high in urban states (Henshaw and Feivelson).
Abortion is legal in all the states in the United States but for some states teenage women are required to secure parental consent or permission. There had a time when the schools require parents approval from the students before allowing them to take aspirin while now, in the case of teenage abortion, everyone is allowed to have it without the knowledge and approval of the parents and this is allowed in more than 20 states. In place where parent’s permission is required, the rate of abortion gone down like in Minnesota and this is in connection in the implementation of the law in 1980’s requiring parent’s approval (“Impact of the Minnesota Parental Notification Law on Abortions and Births”). Following this action, in 1992, there are 29 states that approved the law of the same purpose, requiring parental permission before abortion and this action brought down the rate of abortion in these states. Thus, the parents still prefer to have their kids gave birth and take good care of their babies rather than have it killed while developing in the wombs of their children (“Teen Abortion- Lasting Effect”).
Authorities of North America agreed on the issue of parental support for the single young women who have unwanted babies. That they should have someone to look after them, to give them support and advice and the right person for them are their parents. Laws requiring parent’s notification before any abortion is approved and undertaken, is debatable in some cases. Cases wherein families where parents and children are not in good terms gives rise due to the concern if the family is the best place for the pregnant teenagers. In these cases, the usual scenario is that parents tend to hate and hurt them emotionally and physically and some drive them out of their homes. Although these things happen, still the parents have the right and privilege to know what is happening to their children especially in this issue that involves the life of their children. This hard and complex decision-making involves various aspects on the part of the pregnant girl. The physical and emotional consequences as well as her studies and other future plans are needed to be considered. All of these need moral and financial support from her loved ones, her parents. There were cases where young girls became pregnant after being sexually abused and to cover-up the crime of the abuser she will be submitted for abortion. This kind of crime could be exposed with this process of requiring parent’s notification prior to abortion (“Parental Consent/notification for teen abortions.”).
This law of requiring parental consent prior to abortion limits the access of the youngsters to the facility. One of the laws states that medical personnel must inform the parents of the purpose of the children and that is to have an abortion. This is embodied in the notification laws. Through this, abortion will not be undertaken because the parents will be informed first. Another law requires the young women to have a written consent from the parents that gives them permission to have an abortion. This is included in the parental consent laws. In cases wherein the teenagers with the need to pursue the abortion process but parental notification or consent was not possible, the help of the court is sought. The judge gives permission for the pursuance of the abortion process in certain specified cases. Another scenario is a waiver of parental consent by a physician. In this case a medical specialist gives the consent instead of the parents. Another choice is through professional counseling. In this case, the young women are required to seek counseling instead of parent involvement in cases like this (“Parental Consent/notification for teen abortions.”).
Unwanted pregnancy resulting from rampant sexual adventurism of the teenagers in the United States has bad effect in the society. Considering that the most cases of abortion are from this situation, it must be cut down or minimized. One of the possible ways to reduce unplanned pregnancy is through information and education campaign. Topics on sex education, safe sex and responsible parenthood can be continuously discussed to the young men and women. All the scientific and practical methods to prevent pregnancy, the different contraceptives, can be clearly explained to them. Easy access to the sources of these methods can be established in all parts of the country.
Abortion although legal in all the states of U.S. can also be minimized if not totally stopped. The effective way based on experiences of different states in U.S. is the strict implementation of the law requiring parental consent through the form of notification. Active participation of the parents is essential in this aspect. Their love and understanding as well as their moral, material and financial support can be given to their kids particularly to their pregnant young daughter. Aside from the continuous implementation of the law on parent’s involvement, education can also be conducted nation-wide. The negative effects of abortion particularly to the mother can be inculcated to the mind of the young women. Together with the information & education campaign on sex, safe sex and unwanted pregnancy, campaign against abortion can be done simultaneously in formal ways like in school or in conventions and seminars, or in informal ways such as heath centers, streets or in any public venues.
The family and the authorities must work hand in hand to be able to lessen the problems of teenage pregnancies and abortion. It must me considered that it is the life of the mother and the baby that are at stake in such situations.
Sex among teenagers and minors in the U.S. is very common. This usually resulted to unwanted pregnancy. The saddest part of which is that most of them are not aware that they could be pregnant, that they have very little knowledge of the consequences brought about by premarital sex. A large portion of the population of these young women lack education and knowledge about their sexuality and being a woman. Also, a need to educate them on the contraception and ways to prevent pregnancy arises because if not properly informed most resort to abortion, when contraception are learned too late.
An important issue is on the importance of responsible parenting. It is needed to be able to lessen cases of unwanted pregnancy leading to abortion. Being legal in almost all part of US, these young women have the notion that they can commit abortion anytime. Without even considering the risky side effects, they choose to undergo such a procedure. In this case, the law required parental notification prior to the conduct of abortion. Through this, the parents can be informed and other consequences and considerations can be discussed. By doing so, the safety of the young mothers can be safeguarded. This is one of the ways to decrease abortion. The strict implementation of this law reduce the number of abortion because those teens who are afraid of their parents tried to do their best not to become pregnant. Also, most parents do not allow abortion for their kids, they just let them gave birth and take care of the baby.
Unwanted pregnancy can be minimized through education and proper information dissemination. Thus, knowledge on the matter and issues of abortion, unwanted pregnancy and premarital teenage sex is still the best weapon. Vigilance on the matter is needed by all members of the family, society and even the authorities to be able to lessen cases of death of children who are not even born. Parents, their love and guidance, give hope to the young women who at some point in their lives had the lack of knowledge on premarital sex and may even have considered committing abortion as a wrong notion to solve their problems.
Curtin SC and Martin JA, Births: preliminary data for 1999, National Vital Statistics Reports, 2000, Vol. 48, No. 14.
Henshaw, Stanley K. and Dina J. Feivelson. Teenage Abortion and Pregnancy Statistics by State, 1996. Family Planning Perspectives. Volume 32, Number 6, November/December 2000
“Impact of the Minnesota Parental Notification Law on Abortions and Births.” American Journal of Public Health, March 1991.
“Parental Consent/notification for teen abortions.” 25 January, 2006. Texas Christian University. 01 May, 2006 <http://stuwww.tcu.edu/~emetzler/introduction.html>
Singh S and Darroch JE, Trends in sexual activity among adolescent American women: 1982-1995, Family Planning Perspectives, 1999, 31(5):212-219,
Singh S and Darroch JE, Current level and recent trends in teenage pregnancy in industrialized countries, Family Planning Perspectives, 2000, 32(1):14-23.
“Teen Abortion- Lasting Effect.” 2006. AllAboutPopularIssues.org. 01 May, 2006 <http://www.allaboutpopularissues.org/teen-abortion.htm>
“Teenage Abortion.” 2006. AllAboutPopularIssues.org. 01 May, 2006