Teenage pregnancy and choice: Abortion or motherhood: influences on the decision

Sharon Tabberer, Christine Hall, Shirley Prendergast and Andrew Webster

Policies on preventing unwanted teenage pregnancy are currently high on the agenda.

But few studies have asked how, once a young woman finds herself unexpectedly pregnant, she decides whether or not to continue with the pregnancy. Looking in-depth at 41 young women in one community, this research finds that there is a key time when most young women decide whether to continue with or end their pregnancy.

During this time, they explore various options, often in difficult and confusing circumstances. A range of social, economic and cultural factors may influence their decision, but sources of impartial advice are rare. Contrary to some views, the research suggests that teenage parenthood might not represent a move into 'adulthood' away from the family but a re-integration within it.

The researchers conclude there is a gap in advice services during the early period of the pregnancy; counselling or advice during this time could help teenagers through the difficult decision-making process.

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