Teenage Pregnancy and Abortion by James Pendergraft
For a teenager, having to face an unplanned pregnancy is very difficult and deciding about what she should do is even more difficult.
Irrespective of what her beliefs may be on the subject, the matter always involves a very personal, intimate decision and one fraught with emotional trauma for most teenagers. The options that are available to her such as having an abortion, raising her baby or permitting another person to adopt her baby, all carry with them elements of pain and sacrifice.
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Teenage abortions account for 19 percent of all such procedures in the US. Of those having abortions, the average age has been dropping from nineteen to seventeen.
Of all abortions conducted annually, over 50 percent are conducted on women who are less than 25 years old, and the ages of 18 and 19 account for the greatest number of abortions performed.
Currently, there are 21 states where parental consent is mandatory for teen abortions, and 18 states where it is not required. 14 states require that parents be notified before an abortion is performed on a minor. The notification laws stipulate the parents must be notified about the matter, but that their permission is not required to carry on with the procedure.
Abortions are legal in the United States. Facts relating to teen abortions show that the pregnancy rate of teenagers has declined over the last 10 years in the US, but the percentages have increased.
Considering the young age of this age group and their much greater emotional immaturity, teenagers should always be encouraged to involve their parents when they are faced with making a decision about abortion. Very often, pregnant teens do not receive prenatal care in time, and have a much higher risk of pregnancy related health complications. For the baby, there are risks of premature birth and low birth weight. Fortunately in most cases, a parent is involved.
In most states, if the teen is unable to talk to her parents or if she feels she is unable to discuss it with them, it is possible for her to appear before a judge, who can consider if the girl is mature enough to make the decision on her own. If she is not, it is the judge who decides if the abortion is in her best interest or not. In any case, if complications arise during the abortion procedure, the parents of the minor may be notified.
It is advisable for a teenager not to make a decision in haste or without the guidance of a responsible adult. Teens and their parents on either side of the debate about parental consent should always find out as much as possible about teen abortion facts, and about the abortion procedures.
If you are a teenager and pregnant, it is critical that you maintain your perspective during this time and seek out the advice of a caring adult if at all possible, prior to making a decision. It is important for pregnant teenagers to remember that they have a choice such parenting, abortion or adoption. Most facilities that perform abortions have compassionate and knowledgeable staff members readily available to speak with pregnant teens. They can also provide them with referrals or information for obtaining judicial assistance.