O P I N I O N


If a 14-year-old child is mature enough to choose whether to procure an abortion, the most common argument cited as justification for the termination of a minor's pregnancy -- namely, the fact of her immaturity and the burden of early parenthood -- is certainly invalidated. Any minor considered mature enough to make this grave decision is certainly old enough to care for the child she carries..

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Abortion is No Minor Decision

DIANE DEW

in the Chicago Tribune 9/19/87

[Decisions] to strike down laws requiring parental notification for minors seeking abortions ignore one fact: Pregnant or not, a minor is still a child, responsible to her parents and under their authority. The fact of her promiscuity (and resultant pregnancy) does not change that fact. Nor does it obviate her need to seek their guidance.

Teens, through lack of experience, are ill-prepared to make such grave decisions on their own. Studies have indicated that, while the effects of abortion on adults are profound, the effects of the procedure upon adolescents are even greater. Complications to the mother occur in one of four adult legal abortions; among adolescents the risk increases substantially to one in three. Further, the fact that 2 to 5 percent of abortions result in sterility might not, in itself, greatly disturb a woman in her 30s who already has children (or who has elected not to marry or mother a child) but it could have devastating effects upon a young teen's relationships and future plans for marriage. That parents would shield their children from irreparable pain and hurt is not unreasonable.

Contrary to public thought, there is no such thing as a "safe" abortion. Approximately 258 physical complications can occur in an induced abortion, including hemorrhage; shock; brain damage; septicemia; cerebral, cardiac or pulmonary embolism.

Thus, parents' concerns regarding the court's decision are not unfounded, particularly since adolescent abortions acount for one-fourth to one-third of all known abortions in America.

According to a study on induced adolescent abortions, published by the School of Social Welfare at the University of California, adolescents experience profoundly marked psychological effects in the abortion aftermath. Severe depression, crying spells, massive social withdrawal and even suicide, among other symptoms, have been cited as directly relating to a teen's abortion.

Although many questions in the American abortion controversy remain yet unanswered, one authority stands unwavering: the word of God. The state may recognize social and financial difficulties as valid factors in justifying a woman's decision to abort, but the issue remains, essentially, a matter of moral concern.

If, as the court has decided, a 14-year-old child is mature enough to choose whether to procure an abortion, the most common argument cited as justification for the termination of a minor's pregnancy -- namely, the fact of her immaturity and the burden of early parenthood -- is certainly invalidated. Any minor considered mature enough to make this grave decision is certainly old enough to care for the child she carries.

1987 Diane S. Dew

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