Teen Pregnancy

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The situation is as follow: A teen girl (anywhere from the age thirteen to eighteen) finds herself in a sexual relationship with a male. The end result is the impregnation of this girl. She is left in a predicament. If she feels that she cannot handle the responsibilities she can either choose adoption or to abort the child. But, which choice is better for her? If she feels she can handle motherhood, can she give the child the care it needs? How does her partner and family feel about the decision? These are all factors a teen needs to take into account when she finds herself pregnant. When confronted with the issue of teen pregnancy, and individual has the alternatives of abortion, adoption, or depending on the social and economical expectations, raising the child. One popular choice for a pregnant teen to make is to have an abortion. Despite the current protest against this procedure, abortion has its good points. When done correctly, the number of pregnant teens experiencing abortion-related complications is small. When the abortion is done early, there is less than one complication in two hundred (Oettinger 89). Another instance is which abortion may be the right choice is when the teen feels that a baby would change their life negatively ( Pregnancy and Childbearing 2). Many teens feel that the child can ruin future plans that include going to college and having a career. The teens who are happy with the abortion are those who have thought about the issue carefully and decided they could not care for the child, acknowledged that their beliefs about life do not go against the procedure, and taken into consideration the feelings of those around them (Oettinger 84-85). A teen that has fully considered the feelings of her partner and family has an easier time because of their support ( In The Inner City... 2). A teen s economic status also plays a role in their decision. Many adolescents turn to abortion because they would not be able to cover the expenses of having a child. Statistics show that prenatal care is approximately four hundred dollars. This amount of money is a small percent of a baby s after expenses (Roumayah 2). Aborting a fetus seems more desirable to some teens having their baby living in poverty. Another group that finds abortion to be a better alternative are the teens who feel that they are not yet mature enough to handle the responsibilities of motherhood. A teen who lacks experience in the world may think that their incapacity for parenting would result in more pain to the child than the option of abortion (Oettinger 82). Like every option, abortion has several drawbacks. Teens who cannot afford legal abortion, are too late in their pregnancy to obtain a legal abortion, or whose parents will not consent to the abortion will seek out illegal ones or attempt to perform their own. These unprofessional abortions often lead to complications such as excessive bleeding, infection, and damage to the reproductive organs (Roumayah 1). In addition to the possibility that the abortion will damage the body, the procedure often affects the mind. Research shows that teens may undergo behavioral difficulties both before and after the procedure. Some psychologists say that it may be more difficult for teens than adult woman to have an abortion. Adolescents are more likely to use immature defenses such as denial, and acting out their conflicts on others (Roumayah 2). Abortion can be looked up on as bad because the other options such as adoption and keep the child. Many teens feel that it is wrong to terminate life of their fetus. This leads into moral debate over whether the fetus is a person with the right to live or a non-entity. Teens who decide on abortion are often faced with, and unable to handle, protesters, such as pro-life groups, that stand outside of abortion clinics and see the teen as a murderer (Oettinger 88). A last point against abortion is the fact that even thought teens are often told that abortions are safe, even legal ones can cause pain and problems. Studies show that abortion is especially painful for younger women and usually more painful than doctors or councilors assume it will be ( Is Abortion Safe? 1). Teens who believe abortion is morally wrong but are not ready to take responsibility for another human life can opt for adoption. There are several types of adoption: open, in which the birth parent is able to meet and choose the adoptive parent; closed, in which the mother and father do not know the identity of the family; independent, in which the birth parents place the baby with the adoptive parents with no help of an agency; agency, in which the adoption agency takes care of the actual adoption; and relative, in which the birth parents place the baby with a relative of their own. But, like all other things, adoption has its pros and cons. Studies show that unmarried teens that put their children up for adoption are less likely to repeat out-of-wedlock pregnancies ( The Benefits of Adoption 1). Teens who give up their babies are also more likely to finish high school and become employed, and less likely to receive public assistance ( The Benefits of Adoption 2). If a teen is concerned about the child s upbringing, some forms of adoption allow them to choose the adoptive parents ( The Benefits of Adoption 2). Other types of adoption allow the teen to visit the child, write the child, or never see the child again, if desired ( The Benefits of Adoption 3). Unfortunately, there are several negative aspects of adoption that a teen must face. A teen who gives up her baby may do so because of lack of proper counseling. A teen may be convinced to opt for adoption by an uncertified counselor not fully aware of the situation (Lindsay98). A teen must also be prepared for the emotional aspects of the adoption ( Choices 2). Such lack of preparation can lead to depression, the teen trying to take back the adopted child (Lindsay 24), or the teen attempting to re-enter their child s life at a later date ( Choices 2). Something that must also be taken into account is the feelings of the child. Adopted children often have a sense of being unwanted through much of their lives ( Choices 1). For pregnant teens who do not want to abort the fetus, or give the child up for adoption, can keep the child and raise the child on their own. The fact is, that ninety-percent of all pregnant teens decide to take on the challenge of parenthood (Oettinger 76). Though it is, without a doubt, difficult, this option proves to be a good choice is many cases. The teens often find raising their child easier when they see it as a worthwhile career ( Is Abortion Safe? 1). When looked at in this manner, the energy of a teen is a plus to the job. They can usually handle long hours and stay excited about being a parent (Beyer 9). If teens apprise themselves of the situation they are getting into, they invariably handle it better ( Choices 1). A teen who is aware of the responsibilities of the new career, such as how to meet the needs of the infant, how to find support and solutions to difficult problems, why parenting is more difficult for teens, and how to plan to meet the special obstacles that face teens parents, find actually doing these things easier (Beyer 7-8). Despite all the difficulties, some teens find the benefits of this job, such as the first smile, the first tooth, the first step, the first laugh, to be quite rewarding (Beyer 56). One thing that makes teen motherhood much easier is the support of those who are close to them. Preparing for the baby alone can be much harder than doing so with the help of the parents and relative (Beyer 2). Teens whose parents support the decision to keep the baby find their new-found parenthood much easier and more rewarding ( Choices 1). Possibly most significant is the fact that attitudes toward pregnant teens have changed, allowing teens to keep their baby without complete ridicule or disapproval from society as a whole ( Is Abortion Safe? 1). However, for every reason that makes teen motherhood a positive thing, there is reason that makes it undesirable. There are many factors that make parenting especially hard on teens. A teen s love for her baby may be important, but its also necessary to meet the child s needs. Lack of infant supervision makes it hard for the teen mother to provide money to feed, clothe, shelter, and medically care for the baby (Lindsay 37).

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