Without a doubt, one of the most trying times of life is the teen years. Teens struggle to understand who they are, what they want out of life, and exactly where others fit into that picture. American teens in particular are exposed very early on to graphic and excessive violence and an over-sexed culture. Even modern politics has joined the fray with a recent Obama campaign commercial. Designed to target young women, it relates a girl’s first time voting to her first time having sex.
Despite the overwhelming trashiness of many aspects of modern culture, some teens emerge relatively unscathed, often thanks to plenty of emotional, physical, and spiritual support from parents or other adult mentors. Others, sadly, make choices in their vulnerable teen years that they end up regretting for the remainder of their lives. Abortion is one of these choices.
According to an Abortion Surveillance report from the CDC – covering the years 1999-2008 – abortion ratios among teens ages 16-19 have shown a pattern of dropping, while ratios among teens ages 15 and under have risen:
Much more interesting than statistics, however, is hearing the voices of teens themselves. Just what do teens – specifically, those teens who have experienced abortion – have to say? Do they believe they made the best choice under the circumstances? Do they regret ending the lives of their children? Or do they experience mixed feelings? While there will always be opinions on both sides of this issue, an overwhelming body of teen voices is speaking out and telling other teens that abortion is not the right choice.
Listen to this 14-year-old girl:
I just recently had an abortion, I am 14 years old and it was the worst decision of my entire life. I did “it” with a boy I thought I was in love with. We don’t talk anymore because I never told him about my pregnancy, i knew he would just deny it being his. If I could go back I would have never got an abortion because the regret is awful, I should have taken responsibility for the child and I was selfish and took the easy way out. When people tell you to wait listin too them! You will never want to go through what these girls that teen pregnancys had to go through. The empty heart breaking feeling will follow you forever.
Another teen writes:
But as i went to that clinic on JUne 6 i didnt let myself think because i knew i would run out of there if i thought about it. They didnt let me see the sonogram of my baby. i knew it was probably for the best though…i would of left if i saw it. when i was laying on that cold table i remember the nurse ask me if this is what i wanted…my heart and head were saying no…but the words that came out were yes…the next thing i remmeber was waking up feeling empty….my parents dont know they think i just “lost the baby”…they would never speak to me again if they ever knew…and i wouldnt blame them…its been almost 6 months since that day and the pain just gets worse…me and my boyfriend are still together and stronger than ever..we named our baby Isabella Rose…we knew it would of been a girl…i cry everynight for her and i pray that God has forgiven me..but i will never forgive myself for doing something so horrible to my baby girl…i know for a fact that if i could go back in time i would give up my life just so she could have hers back…before you make this decision really think about it because it will affect the rest of your life
A 15-year-old, pregnant with twins, shares her heartbreaking story:
I had just turned fifteen when I found out I was pregnant. At first, I had no where to turn. For weeks, I kept the information to myself until I found the courage to tell my mother. From there, my life spiraled downward. I went to a clinic asking for options and I was told that my pregnancy was only a “clump of cells” and that I needed to abort it as soon as possible if I wanted to live a normal life. What I did to my beautiful twins is unforgivable, and I regret it every day. To anyone out there considering your options, there is ALWAYS another choice. You don’t need to be pressured by everyone else. You don’t need to feel a life time of regret.
To look down at your pregnancy test saying positive, saying you have a baby on the way. I looked for the easy way…abortion. It was the only way to keep it from my parents and not let my friends know about it. So the guy and I went for the abortion. At first I was happy. I no longer had worries or responsibilities, but that changed. Now I look around my school, and I see girls younger than me carrying a child. Why couldn’t I do it? Their life is no different than mine. I could have raised a child. To think that I could have been a mom…have a little girl in my arms…to know that I brought her into this world. But, no, I did the opposite…I took her out because I chose the easy way out. Think before you do it. It is a life full of regrets.
And Barkha says:
The day I found out was July 11. When the doctor came back and told me I was so in shock that I had no idea what to do. I was seeing a great guy at the time, and I called him and told him that we needed to talk. When I told him he was glad and thought we should keep the child. We had a feeling that it was going to be a boy, so we picked a name for him. About a week later it hit us that we are just kids ourselves and we could not take care of a child. July 28 was the day that changed my world. After the abortion I felt so different inside, like kind of relieved. I broke up with the guy I was with because we could not look at each other the same way. It has been almost a year since the abortion, and it hits me every day. I regret it so much. Before you make a decision, think about whether it is worth the pain of only 9 month or the pain of a lifetime.
Clearly, many teens decide on abortion in the difficult circumstances of the moment but come to regret it later with all their hearts. Some are pushed into abortion by parents or a boyfriend. Some believe that their parents would disown them if their pregnancies were discovered, and they abort only to find out that their parents would have stood by them. Even when circumstances are overwhelmingly difficult, abortion is not the answer.
Most pregnancy resource centers have groups willing to provide needed supplies, counseling, or just an ear to listen – and sometimes even child care and financial or medical help to teen girls. Other groups exist to provide the support that teen moms need, whether they choose to parent or adopt. Embrace Grace is one such group that walks with teen moms through their pregnancies. Amy Ford, president of Embrace Grace, shares some of the girls’ stories on our site.
These teen moms were able to realize that they were moms at the moment their babies were conceived. And they were able to realize that any sacrifices required of them were well worth an innocent child’s life.