When Teen Abortion is Unsafe for Teen and Baby

When Teen Abortion is Unsafe for Teen and Baby

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What would be your reaction if you had a teenager come home pregnant? Many teenagers fear their parents if they have to bring home a bad report card. Others may have a fear if they get into trouble at school. Although these fears are substantial, young women experience a fear that young men do not. Becoming pregnant is a serious fear for young women that engage in sexual intercourse. Often times a teen mother’s answer to this situation is abortion or an illegal abortion. Teen abortion can be somewhat difficult to get in many states without having parental consent or notification. These laws make it unsafe for the teen mother and unborn child. Teen abortion should be allowed without having to have parental consent. The mortality rate of teen mothers and babies would decrease significantly if this were the case. Sadly, each year in the United States the age of young girls who are sexually active decreases. At this rate there are many unwanted and unplanned pregnancies. “One in three abortions in the U.S. are performed on teens” (Torr 91). That is a very high statistic that young women have created due to their adult decisions.” Teens are sometimes reluctant to practice birth control because it is not romantic” (Emmens 13). Teens tend to believe that they should not use birth control, because they do not think that they will get pregnant. The lack of birth control may result in pregnancy. Once a teenager gets pregnant she may not know what to do next. Teenagers usually become nervous and unsure of whether to tell someone or just keep the pregnancy a secret. When they keep the pregnancy a secret it puts them in danger as well as the unborn child. Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the nation's leading sexual and reproductive health care advocate and provider. “We believe that everyone has the right to choose when or whether to have a child, and that every child should be wanted and loved” (Suarez 2). Planned Parenthood allows a teenager to make safe decisions without including the teen’s parents. In many states where they have Planned Parenthood facilities the teenagers have more options. Teenagers that want birth control and/or an abortion can receive services, as well as information from a doctor. The doctors at this clinic encourage young women to tell their parents of their choice of abortion.

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Young women should use this facility to their advantage. However, there are some who are not aware of Planned Parenthood Facilities. These young women may be left to make wrong and unsafe choice. “All states surrounding Illinois have some form of parental notification law. Leading abortion opponents to often declare Illinois a dumping ground for teen abortion” (Nelson 64). Parental consent laws do restrict the teen’s access to abortion. Often, in the Midwest young teenage women afraid to tell their parents of the pregnancy travel to Illinois to receive an abortion without having parental consent or notification. “Teens also have secret abortions because they find it easier than telling their parents about their pregnancy” (Nelson 41). Becoming pregnant is a scary experience that could leave teens not knowing where to turn for help. If a young teen is afraid of her parent’s reaction she may not notify them of her condition. The teenager may feel left alone as she finds an alternative to having the baby. When they feel they have found an alternative, it is sometimes illegal abortion. Illegal abortions are also known as “botched” and “back alley” abortions. “Currently, an estimated 80,000 women die annually from botched abortions around the globe” (Knapp 83). This type of illegal surgery can be dangerous to the teen. It is illegal and dangerous because it can cause hemorrhaging and infection. During a “back alley” surgery symptoms may worsen and become more complicated, which can lead to death.
Parental consent laws can put the welfare of the young woman in jeopardy. “Some young women live in abusive homes. Some parents are anti-choice and the list continues” (Torr 123). There can be some very dangerous side effects when a state has parental consent laws. The potential side effects may include severe punishment, physical and mental abuse, emotional turmoil, parents may force child to remain pregnant and secret pregnancies. “One pregnant girl, afraid to disappoint her loving parents by seeking consent, died from an illegal abortion, another was killed by her own father after disclosing to her mother that he raped her” (Torr 69). Many young girls are victims of incest so that can also make it difficult to ask their parents for consent.
For parents that are anti-choice and force the child remain pregnant they are putting their child in a compromising position. This child may be brought into the world unwanted before he/she is born. This unwanted feeling may be transferred to the child, and may develop into physical, mental or emotional abuse of the child. A teenager could also decide to put the baby up for adoption. Often times if a decision is not made secret pregnancies occur.
The young women that choose to keep the pregnancy a secret put themselves and the unborn child at risk. When teens decide to have their child in secrecy, they often throw the baby away or abandon it by leaving it somewhere unsafe. That decision is an appalling one but is commonly used because the teenager does not want to confide in her parents about their pregnancy. If a teenage mother abandons her baby she becomes a criminal at a young age. This is all a result of poor decision making in regards to having unprotected sex. “Newborn baby found stabbed in duffel bag in Quarry” (Oprah Show Nov 16). Jessica Coleman was an average sixteen year-old who was sexually active with her boyfriend. They did not use protection while having sex. When Jessica became pregnant she hid the pregnancy from everyone except her boyfriend. Nine months later she gave birth. She claimed that the baby was not moving. It was later discovered that she stabbed the baby and her boyfriend disposed of the baby’s body. Jessica was found guilty of murder and sentenced to six years in jail. Like many young women, Jessica was afraid to disappoint her family so she endured the pregnancy and killed the child herself. The end result should not have been so tragic. Jessica should have had other choices, opportunities and people that she could talk to.
Recently, in Illinois the government has created the safe haven laws that protect the mothers that do not want the newborns. There are no questions asked and they just have to be left at a medical facility, police station or fire station. If the teen is not able to receive an abortion this could be another option. “A 14-year-old Sauk Village girl was charged with murder Friday after she was accused of suffocating her newborn daughter and dumping the baby’s body in a trash can”(George 1). This young lady made the wrong decision and also violated the law. The Illinois Safe Haven Law could have helped the Sauk Village teen make a better decision. There is always going to be a better solution to unwanted pregnancies that do not include murder or committing a crime.
Young women often think of abortion as a quick fix to getting pregnant. This should not be the solution every time a teenager gets pregnant. If a young woman has too many abortions her reproductive system may be permanently damaged, and prevent her from being able to have children. Pregnancy and the responsibilities of pregnancy should be significant to the teenager. Pregnancy is an adult condition that young girls have to deal with if they are going to make the adult decision to have sex. Parental consent might encourage the young woman to make terrible decisions that the teenager may seriously regret in the future. Abortion for many is abortion used too many times. There should be some type of limit on how many that a woman can have.
Contraceptives are another solution to the rise in teenage pregnancy. The right to teen abortion is a privilege that many abuse or try to withhold from young women. They try to withhold information by requiring parental consent from the parents (for their daughter to have an abortion). The only person that should influence a young woman’s decision of abortion is the young woman. She should not be or feel forced into any situation. This is why it is so important for parents and children to have open communication. Open communication provides doors for everyone. It allows the parent to feel comfortable when talking to the child about personal things and vice versa. Open communication can possibly save lives. Although it is the decision of the sexually active teenager whether to have sex or not the choice is complicated. Every choice the sexually active teenager makes is complicated because the decision does not only impact his/her life, it impacts many others.
Ms. X (she did not want her name utilized) is a woman whom was interviewed on October 10, 2006. She decided to share some of her inner most feelings regarding a pregnancy she had experienced. “Being fifteen and pregnant from a rape is a situation that is like no other. It is not anything that I would even wish on my worst enemy. Feeling alone, feeling stupid and just afraid are a few of the feeling I went through. Oh, and I can’t forget the feeling that no one would believe me. I am blessed to have had a mother who understood and held my hand through the whole ordeal. I could not have imagined going through it without her. She is still my hero. I still sometimes feel bad or even sad about what I had to go through, but I am thankful that I decided to tell my mother. I am also thankful that the Illinois Law allowed me to have the procedure. I did not want to end up hating myself or my child in the future, for a situation that happened in my teenage years.”
In conclusion, teenage pregnancy is on the rise. The mother’s to these children are getting younger and younger. There should be information available to these teenage mothers so they have the opportunity to make proper decisions. Decisions may include keeping the child (with a positive outlook), giving the child up for adoption or have a legal abortion. Should abortion be used as birth control? No, absolutely not. However, this child may have been raped or molested by another and may want to have an abortion. Emotional stress for the baby or the baby’s mother is not the outcome wished for. If the teenager lives in a state that has a law similar to the Illinois Safe Haven Law, it may help her in the future. It could also prevent future killings of unborn children and jail time for young teenage women who feel like they do not have a choice.

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