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
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
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). Some teens are provided for by their
families, but other who decide to keep their children are forced to leave home
because the family disapproves or do not have the financial stability to help care
for it (Trapani 110). Other teens simply find it impossible to care for the new
child. Babies do not come with instruction books, and during the teen s own
developmental stage, they cannot cope with the new experience (Beyer 14). In
addition to these hardships, the teen may find themselves postponing, changing,
or completely giving up on, life plans (Beyer 9-11). College often becomes
impossible for the teen mother to attend, making it harder to get a job. Without
money to obtain care, the pregnancy can become complicated, leading to
sickness or death for the baby or the mother.
In addiction to the difficulties a teen mother may have raising her child,
there are also certain consequences she must face fore keeping the baby. Every
year, forty-thousand girls drop out of school due to pregnancy. Subsequently,
they have a harder time breaking into the work force (Trapani 11). Teen mothers
are one of the largest groups to be at socioeconomic disadvantage for most of
their lives ( Pregnancy and Childbearing 1). It has also been proven that teen
mothers are a whole have more children, spend more time as single parents, and
rely more on public assistance than teens who did not have children ( Teen
Pregnancy a Major... 2). The mothers, however, are not the only ones who
suffer. Children of teen mothers are at a greater risk for lower academic and
intellectual achievement, social behavior problems, and lack of self-control due to
effects of single parenthood, lower maternal education, and larger families
( Pregnancy and Childbearing 2).
Whatever the decision a teen makes, it is important that they carefully
weigh all options and do not make decisions influenced by others or the austerity
of their situation. A pregnant teen must realize that the decision she makes, be it
to abort the fetus, put the baby up for adoption, or keep the child, will affect her
and the child for the rest of their lives.