The issue of teens access to abortion is a controversial subject in the US. Each year, an estimated 350,000 teenagers below the age of 18 have been reported pregnant (Brown, 2016). Shockingly, 82% of these pregnancies are unwanted or unintended while 31% of teenagers choose abortion (Brown, 2016). Teenagers experiencing unintended pregnancies choose abortion for similar reasons as mature women do. They have to ask themselves questions whether they need the baby, whether they can afford to raise a child, whether they are ready to be mothers and the impact on their lives. These crucial questions determine the likelihood of maintaining the pregnancy. In recent statistics, 55% of pregnant teens give birth while 13% undergo miscarriages (Brown, 2016). The decision of teenagers to consider the abortion decision is influenced by religious beliefs, parental relationship, peer group, and access to family planning services. On the contrary, the state government also plays a role in controlling teenage pregnancy. All states have laws known as judicial bypass that allow a teen to confidentially undergo abortion if the judge makes a deliberation that it is in the best interest of the teenager until they are mature enough to make decisions. As a result, 36 states have law requiring teens under 18 years to involve their parents about abortion, of which 12 states require parental notification, 20 states need parental consent while four states require both parental consent and notification (Piehl, 2009). Therefore, teens should be allowed access to abortion. However, some object because by teens getting pregnant it implies that they are old enough to raise a child since they engaged in sexual activities.
Teenagers should be given access to abortion because denying them is an infringement of their basic rights. Under what scheme of health would teens be allowed to attend sexually transmitted infections (STIs) treatment, genital examination, and normal health assessments, basically all aspects of health, yet deny them the right to abortion. 82% of teenage unwanted pregnancy implies that they should be allowed to keep their mistake in check. Teenage pregnancy is associated with bullying at school, school dropout and ruins the relationship with parents (Altshuler, Gerns & Prager, 2013). Minors are not yet ready to be parents and they have a long life ahead them to explore life and make deliberations on how best to live it. Most importantly, the idea of bringing up an unwanted child could result in child neglect, torture, and abuse which may have legal ramifications. To avoid all these problems, teens should be allowed access to abortion so that they can get enough time to mend their behavior.
In addition, the risks of denied and delayed health care overweigh the cost of allowing teenagers access to abortion services. Going to court may lead to delayed judgments that could increase the danger of the abortion procedure. Furthermore, a delayed abortion decision also implies that the cost of the procedure substantially increases and only fewer physicians carry out the abortion for an advanced pregnancy, making abortion inaccessible for some teenagers. Therefore, to relieve the tension and controversy, teens can be allowed to involve their parents in the abortion procedure and parents should not be allowed to object the teens decision. Parents are only there to provide moral support but not to deny teens their willingness to abort an unplanned pregnancy (Altshuler, Gerns & Prager, 2013).
In conclusion, teenage pregnancy and access to abortion is a very controversial issue. A large number of teen pregnancies are unplanned and unwanted. Therefore, pregnant teenagers should be allowed access to abortion because majority of them are not ready for motherhood. It is also an opportunity for them to re-evaluate their lives and how best change their behavior. Furthermore, most of the teenagers that give birth end up sending their babies for adoption. As a result, there is no need of going through nine months of pregnancy and end up giving up a child for adoption.
Altshuler, A., Gerns, H., & Prager, S. (2013). A novel use of social media: describing
abortion attitudes of U.S. teens. Contraception, 88(3), 472-473. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.contraception.2013.05.159
Brown, S. (2016). Teenage Pregnancy, Parenting and Intergenerational Relations.
Piehl, N. (2009). Teenage pregnancy. Famington Hills, MI: Greenhaven Press.
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