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Adolescent Pregnancy

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Introduction

RH: Adolescent Pregnancy Final Inquiry Report on Inquiry Project Inquiry into Adolescent Pregnancy Allison Thornton University of Calgary Socrates is renowned for his inquiry based approach to learning. So when I decided I wanted to study issues in adolescent pregnancy, I started posing questions. What factors contributed to teen pregnancy? Are there causal risk factors for the girls who get pregnant? Are there certain characteristics that make a girl more at risk? What social factors contribute to adolescent pregnancy? I also wanted to address some issues like what supports are available for these girls and the availability or publicity of these supports. What are these girl's options? How acceptable socially these options are and possible trends as to the choice of options? What are the implications for social work practice? Social Issue? History has shown that there have always been children born outside of marriage. The stigma on the unwed mother has always been there, and has not changed. So why is this a social issue? The fact is that these unwed mothers are children themselves, and are believed to not be ready to have children of their own. Adolescent pregnancy is a social issue because of stigmas placed on these girls: socially, religiously, and economically (Cervera, 1989). Other factors that contribute to the social issue are the concerns about children raising children, and the impact this has on the adolescent's life and the child's life, whether positive or negative (Hao, 2000). It also places a financial strain on the social support systems intact as these girls' needs increase while they look at their own socio-economic status and provide for their child's needs (CBC). "The questions raised by teen parenting are questions about the way we as a society construct our responsibilities towards children. (Wong 1999, pg. 3). There is also growing concern whether if these choices are made with a full understanding leads to some of the myths about adolescent pregnancy (Combs-Orbe, 1990). ...read more.

Middle

About equal proportions of pregnant adolescents have unintended births (37%) or induced abortions (35 %), with smaller percentages of adolescent pregnancies ending in miscarriages or intended births (about 14 %). (Moore, 2002) Abortion is a harder choice to make because of the stigma that occurs with it. The public debate about whether the fetus is still alive and that the procedure is murder makes it very difficult for an individual to decide. The girls have to suffer through a physical trauma, and run the risk of it impacting their future reproductive health. (Zabin, 1993) They also have to deal with the emotional issues of "what if", and dealing with anniversaries. (Project Rachael, 2002) Then on top of this there are the social consequences, when asking a Catholic classmate, Tom Miklos, about abortion, he mentioned Project Rachel, and the girls who choose to have abortions are unable to tell anyone about it. (Miklos, 2002) Clinics in Calgary are normally closely guarded and hidden, as the staff has to deal with protests or possible security threats to themselves and their patients. If a girl is seen leaving a clinic, it may be assumed that she is having an abortion, when in fact most clinics also offer counselling, and prenatal care. Currently in Lethbridge there are no abortion clinics, and abortions have to be performed up in Calgary. A girl who is fifteen if she decides this option, must find the nearly impossible way up to Calgary on her own, be ready to pay the 500 dollars for it, and stay overnight in Calgary, all without causing a stir or letting anyone else know. If the adolescent decides for whatever reason to carry the baby to term she is now faced with the reality of bearing a child. She has two options available to her: she can keep and raise the child herself and or with the help of her family, or she can give the child up for adoption. The services available to her now change. ...read more.

Conclusion

Some attitudes I found when dealing with several of the support programs I visited were that I had to verify the fact that I was not a potential client. Some people I talked to felt uncomfortable with discussing some of the options like abortion. The programs I found are support programs, for after the fact, none accessed before the pregnancy. The burden of prevention is left at the home or at the front door of the school. There are two main causal factors that contribute to adolescent pregnancy, the lack of education and the media's portrayal of sex. There are so many reasons why a girl can become a pregnant adolescent, from lack of education on contraception methods, to economic issues such as not being able to access contraception methods, to social issues like the home environment they grew up in. The factors that affect these girls once they become pregnant fall under the same categories. Education as to what they're options are, the social acceptability of these options, and knowledge of the outcomes for what they choose. The economic marginalisation of these girls is also a major concern, and it seems that the social service network is suffering from cutbacks and can not deal with the strain these girls place on it. There never seems to be enough time.... There are several key issues I would have liked to address further, the most important was the stigma of teen pregnancy, what is the basis for it? I would have liked to go more in-depth into the prevention or support programs and contrasted them between a rural and an urban setting to see what the differences are. What is special about other countries that have lower teen birth rates? Is abortion more acceptable there? 1 We are always referred to as being close, but I have yet to find our standing 2 No name was ever provided [a1]CICH page 16 1 Adolescent Pregnancy ...read more.

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