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How Common is Teenage Abortion?

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  • Written By: Tara Barnett
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 19 November 2016
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Teenage abortion is very uncommon, relatively speaking, but it is somewhat more common in certain countries and communities. The statistics concerning teenage abortion can be misleading, and the information about who gets abortions and why is often misconstrued because this issue is both sensitive and political. In many areas, teenage abortions performed medically are extremely rare because abortion is illegal or parents will not consent to an abortion. For teenagers who cannot find access to medical abortions, dangerous back-alley abortions may seem like the only option, and these procedures often go unreported.

It is hard to determine precisely how common teenage abortion really is, particularly because the rate varies not only by country but also by income and community. In general, teenagers who practice unsafe sex will have more abortions than those who do not, because teenagers who practice unsafe sex get pregnant more often. Teenage abortion is significantly less common in wealthy communities, and some areas have almost no reported abortions among teenagers.

In some areas, teenage abortion is limited not by the number of teens who would like to get abortions, but by the number of teens who actually have access to abortions. Countries that do not have the ability or the desire to provide safe abortions to the population often have either lower rates of reported abortions or more deaths resulting from botched abortions. Teenagers are often put in a very difficult situation when it comes to abortion, because many areas require medical facilities to notify parents before an abortion can be performed.

Given that the term teenager includes all people between the ages of 13 and 19, it can also be misleading to look at these statistics when grouped together. A woman who is 19, for example, is not a minor in most areas and can be considered in many ways an adult. Abortions among teenagers are much more common among older teenagers than younger ones, and those teenagers who get abortions may already be married or living independently. The concern over teenage abortion is primarily over women who are minors who get abortions, not over adults who are still teenagers.

While many parents fear that a teenager may get an abortion without permission and seek legislation to prevent teenagers from doing so, the real concern should almost always be that a teenager might accidentally get pregnant. A teenager who gets pregnant will face serious consequences and difficulties whether she chooses to keep the fetus or abort it, and no teenager who is not pregnant has any reason to get an abortion in the first place. As such, many people believe that it makes more sense to take measures to prevent unwanted pregnancies rather than force teenagers to seek unsafe abortions because they do not have medical options.

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