Abortion Among Adolescents Journal American Psychologist volume: 58 page: 211-217 The article “Abortion among Adolescents” was written by Nancy E. Adler, Emily J. Ozer, and Jeanne Tschann from the University of California, San Francisco. Nancy is the Vice Chair of the Department of Psychiatry and the Director of the Center for Health and Community. She is also the Lisa and John Pritzker Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychiatry. Emily received her Ph. D from UC-Berkeley in 1999 in clinical psychology with an emphasis on community psychology.
As an associate rofessor at the UC-Berkeley school of public health she teaches graduate courses in behavioral science theory. Jeanne’s primary interest is the study of personal relationships and health related outcomes among children and adolescents. In most countries adolescent’s access to abortion is limited by restrictions on legal abortion. Legislation mandating parental consent has been Justified including high risk of psychological harm from abortion. Studies suggest a relatively low risk associated with abortion, and adolescents seeking abortion appear to make an informed choice.
Issues of abortion for adolescents are embedded in the status and meaning of abortion in the country in which they are living. In much of the world particularly in developing countries the major problem is access to safe, legal abortion. One quarter of women in the world live in countries in which abortion is either completely prohibited or permitted only to save woman’s life. In some countries the only option for terminating an unwanted pregnancy is illegal abortion. Illegal abortion can carry a high risk of morbidity and mortality.
Some countries where abortion is legal, women ay not have access to safe abortions, and adolescents may turn to illegal or unsafe providers and practices. In Lusaka, Zambia, although abortion is legal in some situations, five women are treated for complications of unsafe abortion for every one woman receiving a legal abortion. The general purpose of the study to that most parental involvement laws in the United States are to protect adolescents from making a harmful decision and to promote family functioning by assuring that parents become involved in their daughters’ decision making and care.
All 50 states nd the District of Columbia allow minors to consent to testing and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. Adolescents’ sexuality and minors may be hesitant to seek them if they have to inform their parents. Out of 158 countries in which legal abortion is available, 55 countries permit abortion only when necessary to save the life of the woman. Parental authorization for abortion is required in 28 countries, including 5 countries in which abortions may only be performed to save the woman’s life.
Cuba, Denmark, Italy, Norway, turkey, and most of Eastern European countries equire written parental consent for adolescents to have an abortion. And in turkey parental consent for adolescents but does require an adult of the minor’s choice to be involved in the abortion process. Thirty two states in the United States currently restrict adolescent’s access to abortion. Fifteen states enforce parental notification laws; 17 enforce parental consent laws. Several states permit another adult family member such as a grandparent to give consent instead of parent.
All but 4 states with parental consent or notification laws allow for an alternative Judicial bypass of arental involvement. Recently parental notification legislation in Florida was based on the assertion that “the unique medical, emotional, and psychological consequences of abortion are sometimes serious and can be lasting, particularly when the patient is immature. ” Three keys for restrictive laws regarding adolescents are; that abortion poses a significant risk that adolescents are incapable of making an adequately informed decision, and that adolescents benefit from parental involvement that results from notification or consent.
Abortion itself carries relatively ew medical risks, especially compared with the risks of childbearing. Pregnancy rated mortality rates in the United Sates are 9. 2 per 100,000 live births, the mortality rate is 0. 3 per 100,000 legal abortions. Psychological responses following abortion have consistently shown that risk of psychological harm is also low. Some experience psychological dysfunction following an abortion, but post abortion rates of distress and dysfunction are lower than preabortion rates.
Not only has that rate of disorders such as depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 442 abortion patients ollowed for two years but also PTSD was actually lower in patients post abortion than are rates in the general population. Overall risks of psychological harm from abortion are low. The best study of adolescent abortion followed 360 adolescents over two years after they had been interviewed when seeking a pregnancy test. Adolescents had a negative test, some were pregnant and carried to term, and some were pregnant and aborted their pregnancy.
Adolescents who underwent an abortion showed significant drops in anxiety and significant increases in self esteem and internal locus of control from baseline to two years later. Abortion group showed lower trait anxiety than the other two groups, higher esteem than the negative pregnancy group, and had a stronger internal locus of control than the childbearing group. More likely than those in the other groups to be in school or to have graduated from high school, more likely to be at grade level if they were in school, and less likely to have a subsequent pregnancy.
Post abortion functioning of 23 patients less than 18 years of age with that of 40 patients ages 18-21 years. No significant age differences on standardized measures of depression, self esteem, nxiety, or positive states of mind or on emotional responses to abortion. Minors reported less comfort than adult patients with their decision one month post abortion, but the absolute values signified that most minors were comfortable with their decision.
The available data show that mean past abortion scores on psychological measures are well within normal bounds for minors as well as for adults. In a study of 90 female adolescents in their first trimester of pregnancy who had decided to have an abortion. Foster and Sprinthall found differences in global moral reasoning between younger 12-14 years and older 17-19 years adolescents but id not find differences in reasoning about abortion. Finken and Jacobs found that deciding about an abortion than they would for other types of decisions.
Students reported that they were relatively more likely to consult with their significant other for an abortion decision than for a medical, a career or educational, or an interpersonal decision. They also showed different patterns with respect to consulting family members, friends and professionals for abortion than for other decisions. They examined the decision making of 75 patients seeking a pregnancy est, comparing legal adults’ ages 18-21 years with two groups of younger adolescents ages 14-15 years and ages 16-17 years.
I learned a lot from this article is was a very interesting article about abortion. I know a best friend that went through abortion so now that I know about this kind of information I think I understand things a little better. I actually feel like I can understand her when she talks about it to me. According to Koocher and DeMaso “children are often more capable of expressing preferences and participating in making major life decisions than is generally recognized in medical settings or under the law. “