Pregnancy is an amazing and challenging process! But, being a parent is too. So, is it any wonder that most teens freak out if they discover a pregnancy? Whenever someone is faced with an unexpected pregnancy, important choices must be made. If you or someone you know is in this situation, here are a couple important things to remember:
- Find out as much information as you can about all of your options before making a decision. If you are in the Austin area, Austin LifeCare is a good place to start for more information on these choices.
- Do not make a choice under any pressure. Remember that this is your body and your choice. Those things can be hard to remember when you are getting advice (welcome or not) from people all around you.
- You have time. Don’t feel pressure to make a decision today. Do some research, talk to people you trust, sleep on it. Don’t let haste push you into a decision that you may not be happy with.
As far as the choices for someone dealing with an unexpected pregnancy…there are three legal options in the state of Texas: Parenting, Abortion and Adoption. Here are a couple of things you may or may not know about each.
- Parenting- The majority of teens facing pregnancy choose this option. Special adjustments are usually made to complete school. Finances are often difficult because many times teen guys abandon their partners for various reasons. Child support can be filed, but usually a minimal amount is received if any at all. Being responsible for a child can really affect your social life too.
- Abortion- This option may be viewed as the easiest way out of a difficult situation, but as with the other choices, there is much to be considered. As of September 1, 20051 a teen living in Texas must have parental consent to have an abortion. Basically, the parent fills out a form and signs it before a notary (a legal witness) and the form is then taken to the clinic where the procedure is scheduled. Also, the state requires that a booklet called A Woman’s Right to Know is made available at least 24 hours before the procedure is scheduled to be done. The booklet covers fetal development, different types of abortion, and any risks that may be involved with the procedures so that an informed decision can be made. The state also requires that a woman receive a sonogram 24 hours before the procedure is scheduled to be done.
- Adoption- This option is often viewed as the most difficult. However, adoption has changed dramatically over the years. An agency will work with the birth parents on an adoption plan of their choice. After the birth, the birth parents can see the baby, name the baby, and spend time with the baby. The birth parents can choose to get updated on the child’s progress or have ongoing visits throughout the child’s life while continuing with their education and career goals. In most cases, the adoption agency covers medical costs of the delivery as well.
Despite the tough decisions related to teen pregnancy, there are still many that occur in the United States. There are approximately 750,000 teen pregnancies a year2 and that translates to about 1 every 30 seconds.
If you or someone you know is dealing with an unexpected pregnancy, Austin LifeCare provides options counseling and support services. You can reach someone at (512) 374-0055.
- Act of May 27, 2005, 79th Leg., R.S., ch. 269, §1.42, 2005
Tex Gen. Laws 734 (S.B. 419) (codified at Tex. Occ. Code §164.052(a)(19))
- Source: The Guttmacher Institute. (2006) U.S. Teenage Pregnancy Statistics National and State Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity. New York: The Guttmacher Institute