Before Choosing Abortion

Some Important Considerations

If you are pregnant and planning an abortion, it’s important to evaluate why you are making this decision as well as the consequences to your choice. Below are some of the most common reasons women choose abortion with a response to consider.

» » My parents will kill me!
» » I have no place to stay if I have the baby.
» » I’m being forced to have an abortion.
» » My partner will leave me.
» » I’m embarrassed to be a single parent.
» » This is very bad timing!
» » I’m not ready to be a mother.
» » It’s not a baby yet.
» » I don’t want to end up poor and on welfare.
» » An abortion seems easier than pregnancy.
» » I don’t have any medical insurance.
» » I can’t afford a baby.
» » There might be something wrong with the baby.
» » I just had a baby.
» » Everyone else says have the abortion.
» » I don’t know where to go for help.

My parents will kill me if they find out.

Yes, your parents will be upset and disappointed, but they will probably not kill you. After the initial shock, parents of pregnant young women usually come to terms with the situation, later becoming an invaluable source of support. Usually we see that the grandparents-to-be are excited about the baby as the due date approaches. If you are afraid to tell your parents, a counselor from your local pregnancy resource center can work with you to determine the best way to break the news.

If you decide not to tell your parents, our experience has been that the parents usually find out anyway. In these situations, mothers especially are saddened that they weren’t given the opportunity to support their daughter when she most needed it.

You don’t understand. They’ll kick me out of the house!

If your parents really do kick you out, your pregnancy resource center can help you find another place to stay while you are expecting. Some centers have a registry of families who have volunteered to house pregnant girls as needed. There are also many fully equipped maternity homes with young women staying there who are in your same situation. The maternity home will assist you with prenatal care, parenting education, counseling, and many other needs you may have. Contact our center for a referral to a home near you.

My parents are forcing me to have an abortion.

Legally, no one can force you to have an abortion. In fact, forcing a minor to have an abortion is child abuse. If you tell the doctor that someone else is forcing you into this decision, he or she will not perform the abortion.

My boyfriend will leave me if I have this baby.

Your boyfriend is just as responsible for the pregnancy as you are. It takes two to make a baby, so his responsibility does not end just because he doesn’t want to deal with the situation anymore. If he is going to leave you just because you want to give your unborn child a chance at life, it’s questionable whether he loved you at all. He is treating you as no more than an object for his sexual needs, rather than a woman who is rightfully concerned about the effects of abortion on herself and her child. You may be better off without someone like that in your life right now. Either way, he is still legally required to pay child support after the baby is born.

I’m so embarrassed! What will everyone think?

If you are unmarried, you may fear that others will judge you for having a child out of wedlock. But there are many single parents today, some divorced and some never married. Years ago this was a real concern, but today the stigma attached to single parenthood is far reduced. In fact, many metropolitan school districts, like Los Angeles, include publicly funded high schools especially for pregnant and parenting students.

I’ve got my whole life ahead of me. A baby doesn’t fit into my plans.

If you are ever planning on having children, one thing you will come to understand is that there is usually never an ideal time to have a baby. No matter when you decide to have a child there will be trade-offs and sacrifices to make. It’s impossible to predict the future. Many couples wait a very long time to start their families, only to find later that their circumstances never became ideal.

I’m not ready to be a mother.

It is true that parenthood requires more responsibility than single life, but if you are pregnant you are already a mother. You are being responsible for the child inside of you by the way you treat your body now. The real question is, “How do I treat this child that I have already participated in creating?”

What’s the big deal? It’s not a baby yet.

Although the unborn child does not have legal rights under the law, the fetus is very alive. By the sixth week of pregnancy the heart has started beating. By eight weeks brain waves can be measured. By twelve weeks the child can and does cry, though silently. By sixteen weeks the baby’s movements can be felt by the mother. Many women bond with their unborn children long before they are born and feel a great sense of loss after an abortion. More about the development of the unborn child.

I don’t want to end up poor and on welfare. I need to finish my education.

Having a baby does not have to mean that you will end up as a welfare mother, even if you are poor and single. Although it may be more difficult to continue your studies while you are caring for an infant, many women complete their educations and go on to have fulfilling and exciting careers even while doubling as mothers. Many find that having a child increases one’s motivation to succeed. Organizations like Nurturing Network (1-800-TNN-4MOM) exist solely to help students and aspiring professional women complete their goals while facing an unplanned pregnancy. Our experience has been that a woman’s motivation and self-esteem determine her ability to do well, not an unplanned pregnancy.

An abortion seems so much easier than pregnancy. I just want to get this over with.

The abortion procedure is quick, but the effects can last a lifetime. Abortion can leave you emotionally impacted for years. In our experience, common post-abortion symptoms include depression, nightmares, guilt, regret, avoidance of babies, and even self-destructive behaviors. The difficulties usually get worse over time and not better. Most dating relationships do not survive an abortion as the experience drives the couple further apart. Some women are physically damaged from the abortion, and a few are even left permanently infertile. In our center we have spoken to women who have almost bled to death after what was supposed to be a safe, simple procedure. If this is your first pregnancy, aborting can double your risk of developing breast cancer; multiple abortions can increase your risk of breast cancer three-fold.

I don’t have any medical insurance.

It’s not too late to get coverage for your prenatal care and delivery. Most college students are covered for pregnancy under their university health plans. If you are unemployed, a high-school student, or otherwise have little income, you will most likely qualify for a state-subsidized medical plan for low-income women and children. You may even be able to obtain private insurance if you apply early in pregnancy. If you are not a U.S. citizen, there are still some public funds you may be able to access. Please call your local pregnancy resource center to discuss your options.

I can’t afford a baby.

Babies can cost as much as parents are willing to spend. Much of our society focuses on having numerous possessions for ourselves and children, but material things do not create a loving family. After you look back on your life, those things which you value the most will not be the possessions you spent a lot of money on, but rather your children and relationships. It’s more important to invest in the new life inside you than all the things you think you and your baby will need.

Having a baby will increase your budget, however, regardless of how thrifty you are. For this reason, most pregnancy resource centers offer maternity clothes, baby clothes, and baby equipment to any woman who needs it at no charge. Programs like WIC help women and their children obtain healthy foods at no cost. Also, you can save a tremendous amount of money by purchasing baby furniture second hand. Relatives are often eager to buy infant clothes and other goods, especially if this is the first baby in the family for a long time.

The doctor said that there might be something wrong with the baby.

While most prenatal tests can reasonably predict a problem, they don’t usually give insight as to the severity of the problem. The problem may be very minor. Sometimes such tests are wrong and the child is completely healthy. And even if the disorder is severe, the value of a human being is not dependent on the health or attractiveness of that individual. Handicapped children deserve a chance at life just as anyone else. A disabled child is still able to love and be loved, and to make a special contribution to your family. Depending on your outlook, this child can be a blessing to you and others. You will probably need support to continue your pregnancy under such circumstances. Call our center for a referral to organizations made up of parents who have continued pregnancies under similar circumstances.

Nonetheless, if you feel unable to raise a child with special needs, there are adoption agencies which can place such children in loving homes. Call a pregnancy resource center near you to discuss your situation.

I just had a baby. I can’t have another one right now.

If you have just recently given birth, it can be a tremendous shock to find that you are pregnant again. But having just been pregnant, you can understand more than anyone just how fantastic it is to have a small child developing and growing within you. You’ve experienced the miracle of life before; to extinguish this life now is hard to imagine. Two babies close together is a real challenge for even the most experienced mother, but in a few years you will find that the siblings are the best of friends. The children will entertain each other giving you more time later on. Having another baby will be invaluable to the child you have now and will soon be precious to you too.

Everyone around me thinks abortion is the best idea.

Although your friends, relatives, and partner may all feel abortion is the best choice, you are the only one who can make the final decision. You are ultimately responsible for your actions and will have to live with the consequences of your choice. An abortion is never easy to forget.

I wish I could have this baby, but I don’t know where to go for help.

If you are facing a crisis pregnancy and are interested in alternatives to abortion help is available. In the United States there are over 3,500 pregnancy centers that exist solely to assist women in your situation. You can speak to a counselor who understands your situation and can offer practical solutions to a problem pregnancy.


Source: Adapted from M. Terwilliger, “Some Reasons to Decide…,” In Pregnancy: Teen Decisions, ed. W. Dudley, Greenhaven Press, Spring 2001. Used with permission.


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