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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). 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.

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