Abortion - always a touchy subject, made even more sensitive when the one who is pregnant is a teenage girl. Who has the "right" to make decisions regarding termination of the pregnancy of a minor - the child, her parents, the father of the baby, his parents? Who gives medical authorization for teen abortions in a world where our schools can't even dispense Tylenol without a parent's signature?
According to an online poll of 466 parents conducted by Parent Soup, one of the largest online parenting communities on the Web and America Online, 45 percent felt that the pregnant teen girl should make this decision, while 34% feel that her parents are entitled to the final say. Almost 20% chose "other" as their option, most explaining that this should be a joint decision.
Here's what people had to say on the subject:
• The decision should include both the parents and teenager. My mother in law was faced with this situation when she was 15. Her mother insisted she have an abortion. She refused and made a very strong plea for her unborn. Today I am married to her son. I am very opposed to abortion and beg parents of teens to look into adoption because there are many couples who are childless.
- tarahmo2 (Web)
• If we all had supportive families then I would say the parents should be involved, but there are a lot of teen girls giving birth in bathroom stalls because they feel they can't go to their parents.
- tenili (Web)
• If I had a daughter and she opted to have an abortion, I would want to know who the doctor is, if he's board certified, the hospital, the anesthesiologist, everything. I wouldn't want my kid going to the dentist without my knowledge, let alone the abortionist.
- Dao663 (AOL)
• I wish my situation had been different so that I could have gone to my parents. I have to live with what I had to do and it isn't easy, but I realize I can't change it now and did what I had to do then. I am not proud of any of it and it still hurts.
- APratt8396 (AOL)
• If the relationship is bad and there is going to be no support for her one way or another, I think it is a pregnant girl's right to have an abortion without her parent knowing. Parents should be there to guide & support, not take over for their child.
- anthonymichaelsmom (Web)
How do we balance medical decisions and moral decisions with protecting the rights of both parents and children? This question has yet to be answered to the satisfaction of all involved.