What do I do when teenage pregnancy comes close to home?
A close friend of your teenage daughter is pregnant and considering an abortion. The friend’s home life is less than ideal and she spends a lot of time at your house. In fact, she’s almost a part of the family! How can you support her without overstepping your bounds?
Fear is likely the leading emotion she is experiencing as she contemplates how to respond to her pregnancy. It’s likely that she also feels ashamed to tell anyone because – among other reasons – being pregnant proclaims to the world that she is having sex. She’s uncertain of what lies ahead yet may be afraid to talk to trusted adults who can help her.
The fact that abortion is legal may have a strong influence on her perspective of the pregnancy and provide subtle pressure for her to abort. The views of her peer group and parents in regard to abortion will likely affect her as well.
First, maintaining a trust-based relationship with the teenager is important, and doing that without bypassing her parents’ authority may be tricky. If she hasn’t informed her parents of the pregnancy, strongly encourage her to do that. If she has concerns about how they will respond, listen to her while nudging her toward that conversation. Her parents have a right to know about the pregnancy and to help her as she makes such a life-altering decision.
Speaking of her parents, it’s important to note that the majority of states have laws in effect that require a parent to be notified or give consent before a minor has an abortion. If you live in one of these states, a teenager cannot have a “secret” abortion – something she may not have considered.
For background on these laws, see Parental Involvement Laws for Abortion: Protecting Both Minors and their Parents. To see if your state has a parental notification or parental consent law, see Parental Involvement in Minor’s Abortions.
If she hasn’t had a pregnancy test, she can have one free of charge at a pro-life pregnancy resource center. These centers also provide information on her developing baby, her alternatives and some offer an ultrasound so she can see her preborn baby’s development.
One way to gently bring home to her the value of her preborn child growing in her womb is to share a booklet entitled, First Nine Months, which documents fetal development. This booklet puts a “face” on her preborn child and helps her see that abortion would destroy this tiny human life.
It’s important for her to know that abortion can have a negative effects on the woman in the form of physical, psychological and emotionalcomplications afterward, something young women may not consider.
Abortion is often viewed as way of escaping an unplanned pregnancy, especially if a young woman doesn’t think she has any options. Among the leading reasons women give for aborting a pregnancy are a lack of support for the pregnancy and a desire to finish school or keep a job. This may give you insight into what this young woman is thinking in regard to the challenges before her if she carries the pregnancy to term. Ensuring your support will help alleviate the unknowns she faces.
Most of all, your prayers for her wisdom, discernment and courage will be a priceless component of this unexpected journey as you walk along her.
Taylor had just finished her junior year of high school when she found out she was pregnant. Her boyfriend, the father of the baby, had graduated from high school and when she told him, he wanted her to get an abortion. They just couldn't have a baby right now — they were both too young and had no money. She was scared, and though she didn't really want to abort, she didn't know what else to do. The pressure of the situation caused her boyfriend to break up with her.
Growing up in a Christian, church-going home didn't make this decision easier for Taylor. Then, an adult friend brought Taylor to the Care Net Pregnancy Center and through the course of the appointment, she received an ultrasound. While watching her little 7-week old baby on the ultrasound monitor she saw its heartbeat and thought, "This is a living being inside me. How could I ever think about aborting? It's not the baby's fault." She decided to carry the baby to term.
It took courage to talk to her parents about her situation. She knew she had hurt and disappointed them. But love won, and they have been very supportive of Taylor. Together, they helped her welcome their grandson, Kael Adrian Eller, born Feb. 25, 2009.
This on-line booklet provides guidance for parents or adult friends of teenagers facing an unexpected pregnancy
The Pregnant Teen's Dilemma
How to Really Love Your Pregnant Teen
Our teenage daughter is pregnant. How can we help her?
My daughter is pregnant and her boyfriend is pressuring her to get an abortion.