Follow Up on Abortion versus Choice

Amy Hendel Health Guide
  • Here are a couple of issues to reflect on as we move toward Election Day:

      

    • (1) In California, Proposition 4 will be back on the ballot. This proposition failed by a narrow margin twice in the past. The initiative involves parental notification prior to abortion for girls under 18. If it passes, it will mean that no girl under age 18 can have an abortion without 48 hour notification to the girl's parents or guardian. That means that girls who live in abusive homes and fear physical punishment will be unable to have an abortion if they need it, without the parent(s) being notified. Only if there has been "documentation of abuse in the home" will the notification then be given to an alternative adult relative. The upside of the proposition passing is that parents will be involved in this decision; the downside is that some girls will now choose a secret and possibly alternative termination of pregnancy option that can put their lives in danger. And if the pregnancy is the product of incest - that parent would be informed, if the girl wanted an abortion. The main reason supporters want this passed is the feeling that this will reduce the number of teen abortions. According to a recent American Academy of Pediatrics position paper, teens under age 18 in states that do and don't require parents informed prior to abortion - seem to be equal in number - when it comes to informing their parents.  Meaning about the same number of kids are telling their parents that they are pregnant and want an abortion, in states that do not require parents informed, as kids in states that require it.
    • (2) According to recent studies, American teens are more likely to get pregnant than teens in other developed nations. The US teen pregnancy rate is 7.5%. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, that's almost twice as high as Britain and four times higher than Sweden or France. Why? It seems that American teens are as likely to have sex as European teens, but less likely to use contraception. The US currently spends 2 billion dollars annually on sex education, and of that, 176 million dollars is spent on abstinence only sex ed.

      

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Published On: October 05, 2008