Friday, June 20, 2008

Two Sides of One Coin: Side A (Abortion)

Most stereotypes exist for a reason. Some seem to be maybe 1% true, while others hit the mark more often. One of the many stereotypes surrounding teenagers concerns their developing and rudimentary decision-making skills. I want to explore two ways this can majorly affect the health of young women (in the words of Young Jeezy) "sexually, mentally, physically, emotionally".

In London the abortion rate for young women has reached a record high. This past year (2007) there were a recorded 163 abortions by girls under the age of 14. This statistic is frightening, but not nearly as terrible as the statistic for girls under the age of 16: 4,376! That means that there were over 4,200 abortions for girls age 14 through 16!

Professors and professionals are churning out ideas to aide this new situation. They are aiming to prevent the pregnancy. I do not wholeheartedly agree with Julie Bentley's statement: "Younger women are making different choices about their lives and choosing abortion over motherhood. But education and contraceptive services will stop them becoming pregnant in the first place." Surely this is oversimplified! While I believe that our youth deserve and need a better sex education program, I do NOT think that we can lie to ourselves and them by suggesting that know-how and a pill will keep them completely from harm. We, as adults, need to be teaching them about consequences, about chances and about "fairness". If a teenager read the statement "education and contraceptives WILL stop you from becoming pregnant" they would be wholly misinformed. Most birth control has a success rate of 99%, which of course means that 1% of the time it is unsuccessful. That doesn't sound like much, it really doesn't, but that is one time out of 100 that someone gets an unpleasant surprise.

We need to teach our youth about the consequences of their actions. We need to be truly honest, even blunt, to get the point across. Too often people of all ages view life with the "it could never happen to me" lens on, and it is truly dangerous. They need to understand cause and effect: pregnancy is a possible effect of sex. Abortion is a possible effect of pregnancy. But how many teenagers have thought ahead to the possibles effect of abortion? On their body? On their spirit? On their friends? On their family?

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