Term Paper: Teen Abortion Among Teenage Girls

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[. . .] (Brown et al., 2001)

The article also discussed income and poverty as factors that lead to abortion. The author asserts that the impact of income changes can vary among different ethnic groups.

The study asserts that there is a positive correlation between increases in income and increases in abortion rate among blacks and whites. However, the abortion rate did not increase among Hispanic women although there income has increased.

The concept of planning for the future and having the ability to have some control over that future is a major force behind deciding to have an abortion. An article in Adolescence, describes this as a Life Options model. The article contends that "According to this model, disadvantaged youths do not perceive themselves as having positive life options and therefore do not plan for their future and do not avoid barriers to that future such as early out-of-wedlock childbearing (Dryfoos, 1984). If disadvantaged youths do not perceive that doors are open to them, it is perhaps difficult for them to see teen pregnancy as closing any doors." (Martin et al. 2001)

As you can see socioeconomics definite plays a role in influencing a teen's decision to have an abortion. To explain it simply teenage girls that have the financial means to have an abortion are more likely to choose abortion as an option. In addition, teenagers that know that they can obtain a college education are more likely to pursue an abortion. Those that are disadvantaged have very little hope about their future plans and are very often struggling academically. Also studies suggest that there are differences in abortion rates among those of with different racial backgrounds.

The research concerning the economic effect of teen abortion is quite precise and concrete. The reliability of this research is so profound because there are countless studies that deal with the subject matter. Although these studies may differ in scope, most of them reach the same conclusion. This conclusion is that there is a definite negative correlation between low income teen and abortion rates and there is a positive correlation between higher income teens and abortion rates.

Do Planned Parenthood programs reduce the amount of abortions?

As we mentioned previously, Planned Parenthood plays a major role in preventing and performing teenage abortions in the United States. The organization prides itself on providing a safe environment for teens to discuss sex and to explore the options that they have if they become pregnant. According to an article published on the organization's website the prevention programs that the company provides has aided in reducing abortion rates. (NEW ABORTION STATISTICS CONFIRM EFFECTIVENESS OF PREVENTION PROGRAMS 1998)The article asserts that the decrease in abortion rates throughout the 90's can be attributed to programs provided by Planned Parenthood and its affiliates. (NEW ABORTION STATISTICS CONFIRM EFFECTIVENESS OF PREVENTION PROGRAMS 1998)

The organization claims that the educational and practical resources that it provides has served to educate young people on how to make better decisions about sex and avoiding pregnancy all together. (NEW ABORTION STATISTICS CONFIRM EFFECTIVENESS OF PREVENTION PROGRAMS 1998) The organization points to a twenty-two percent increase in the number of teens using contraception the very first time they engage in intercourse. (Pregnancy & Childbearing Among U.S. Teens, 2004) They attribute this increase to campaigns that advocate safer sex. (Pregnancy & Childbearing Among U.S. Teens, 2004) They also believe that the decrease in the Abortion rates can be attributed to campaigns that advocate abstinence. (Pregnancy & Childbearing Among U.S. Teens, 2004)

The review of this literature reveals to us the nature of the programs that Planned Parenthood provides. The research suggests that the organizations programs are effective in their approach and have aided in reducing the amount of teenage pregnancies and abortions. We can also conclude that the organization is dedicated to ensuring that teens are properly educated about sex, contraception, STD's, pregnancy and abortion.

This particular research lacks an independent evaluation on the effectiveness of the programs offered by Planned Parenthood. These articles were published by the organization and it is not clear if the decrease in abortion rates can be solely attributed to the efforts of Planned Parenthood; there could be other factors that have caused abortion rates to decrease.

Parental Consent Laws and decreased abortion rates

Many experts assert that parental consent laws have an impact upon the rate of teenage abortions. These laws, which are on the books in several states, require parental approval before a minor child can obtain an abortion. Tomal (2001) explains these laws in further detail saying,

Parental involvement laws apply to minor teens (less than 18 years old) and are of two types -- parental consent, in which consent is required by one or both parents, and parental notice, in which one or both parents must be informed but are not required to give consent. The first state to pass parental involvement legislation was Idaho in 1987 (Americans United for Life [AUL], 1996). By 1997, 38 states (76%) had passed parental involvement laws. By region as defined by the Census Bureau, 13 of 16 states (81%) in the South, 3 of 9 states (33%) in the Northeast, 10 of 13 states (77%) in the West, and all 12 states in the Midwest had passed a parental involvement law." (Tomal 2001)

In another study the author suggests that the impact of parental consent laws is dependent upon the states willingness to enforce the laws. The article asserts that in many states the parental consent laws are present but they are not enforced. The study published in the journal Contemporary Economic Policy asserts that,

The effect of parental involvement laws on adolescent abortion rates depends on a number of factors. First, the laws must create a binding constraint for adolescents seeking abortions. In other words, if virtually all adolescents would choose to inform their parents or obtain parental consent even in the absence of involvement laws, the laws would be more symbolic than substantive. The majority of pregnant adolescents choose voluntary parental involvement in states without laws (Donovan, 1992; Rodman, 1991). However, at least some do not. Many pregnant adolescents who prefer to avoid parental involvement are in dysfunctional families and fear parental retribution (Crosby and English, 1991). Thus, parental involvement laws are potentially binding on adolescent pregnancy resolution choices. Given a binding parental involvement law, the law's impact depends on the intensity of enforcement effort applied to instate abortion providers, adolescents' ability to receive abortion services from out of-state providers, and adolescents' ability to obtain a judicial bypass." (Gohmann and Ohsfeldt 1994)

Some believe that these types of laws deter teenagers form getting pregnant and lessen the likelihood that they will have an abortion even if they do get pregnant. A study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence seems to support this notion. The study was conducted to determine the impact of several different variables on abortion rates. These variables included religious affiliation and abortion rates. Tomal (2001) sought to prove, as previous studies had done, that parental involvement laws would have a negative correlation with abortion rates. The study found,

The presence of a parental involvement law (Parental) has the expected negative relationship with teen abortion rates (columns 2 and 3). When comparing standardized coefficients, the [beta]-value for parental involvement law is smaller than those of several other variables -- restrictive public funding, unemployment rate, percent white population, and percent of families headed by a married couple. When Religiosity is included in the model, the coefficient for Parental is 13% smaller than when Religiosity is not part of the model." (Tomal 2001)

Though many experts assert that parental consent laws are good and reduce abortion, there are many health professionals that believe that parental consent is not a good policy. (Carlson and Mackin 1993) According to the journal Adolescence, some doctors believe that parental consent laws can delay the amount of time that it takes a teenager to inform their parents about their pregnancy and places the teenager in a position to experience negative health risks. (Carlson and Mackin 1993) Others argue that parental consent laws place unnecessary embarrassment on the child. The article also suggests that parental consent laws can cause conflicts in families if the parents want the teenager to keep the child. (Carlson and Mackin 1993)

The research of this subject asserts that parental consent laws can influence a teen's decision to have an abortion or to engage in sex. The review of the literature asserts that enforcement of such laws is key in decreasing abortion rates among teens. The findings also contend that parental consent laws can have a negative impact upon teen and there families because teens delay telling parents about their pregnancies which increases health risk. In addition, the laws can produce strife in the family.

This aspect of the literature view fails to explain why some state governments choose not to enforce parental consent laws that have already been put on the books.… [END OF PREVIEW]

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