The Problem Of Teenage Pregnancy And Abortion

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Teen pregnancy is a common problem with well-known causes and detrimental impacts on an individual’s health, society, and economy. Although it has done so at differing rates depending on the region, the adolescent birth rate (ABR) has decreased internationally. There are significant disparities in levels between and within countries (WHO, 2022). Teenage pregnancy is prevalent among those with lower socioeconomic status or less education. 350,000 American teenagers under the age of 18 become pregnant each year. On average, 82% of these pregnancies are unplanned. 31% of adolescent women have abortions, 14% suffer miscarriages, and 55% of them birth their kids (ACLU, 2022). The research will examine how racial and social structures affect the rate of teenage pregnancy and abortion rates.

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Teenage pregnancy and abortion across all ethnicities in America

According to data from the National Center for Health Statistics, Pew Research (2019), it reports that the teen birth rate in the United States has reached a record low, falling below 18 births per 1,000 girls and women aged 15 to 19 for the first time since the start of regular data collection on this group (Livingston & Thomas, 2020). Less than half as many 15 to 19-year-old females gave birth in 2018 compared to 2008 (41.5 births per 1,000). Hispanics came in second, with a reduction in the adolescent birth rate of 74%, followed by Asians and Pacific Islanders. Over the previous ten years, rates for both white and black youths decreased by over 50% (Livingston & Thomas, 2020).

Disparities continue despite substantial falls in teen pregnancy rates across all significant racial and ethnic groupings. In 2018, the birth rate among Hispanic and black adolescents aged 15 to 19 was over five times higher than the rate for Asians and Pacific Islanders, almost double the rate for white teens (Livingston & Thomas, 2020). Teenage birth rates rose sharply after World War II and peaked at 96.3 per 1,000 in 1957, during the baby boom. However, the makeup of teen moms has significantly altered. About 85% of adolescent moms were married in 1960. Today, unmarried moms account for 89% of adolescent births. The expanding economy may contribute to the decline (Livingston & Thomas, 2020). In 2011, a Pew Research Center report linked the recession’s economic decline to the falling birth rate. Although the economy has now recovered, this trend in adolescent birth rates has persisted, and birth rates for teenagers have decreased more quickly than birth rates for all women aged 15 to 44 (58% and 4% decreases, respectively, from 2008 to 2018) (Livingston & Thomas, 2020). The elimination of social class will be the next important concept.

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Impact of social class

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, the high fertility rate among American teens may result from the regional income gap between the haves and have-nots. According to a new examination of data from the National Survey of Family Growth, young ladies from lower socioeconomic origins are significantly more likely to keep their infants in locations with significant financial differences (Hunter, 2012). Teenagers in areas with less income gap, mothers of better socioeconomic positions, and women with college degrees had lower birth rates.

Another critical aspect of the impact of teenage pregnancy and abortion is the culture of despair. For instance, a poor young lady is more inclined to welcome parenthood in her present situation if she believes that financial success is not within her grasp (Hunter, 2012). Delaying parenthood and investing in social or human capital are more appealing when there is a greater possibility for economic growth. Examining the ongoing spatial heterogeneity in state-level economic inequality and adolescent birth rates, young girls have babies three times more frequently in Mississippi than in New Hampshire (Hunter, 2012). In Mississippi, 61 births per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19 in 2005, compared to 18.4 in New Hampshire. Over the past 20 years, these variances have remained extraordinarily consistent (Hunter, 2012).

Therefore, a lady of low socioeconomic status is more likely to give birth as a single adolescent if she lives in a neighborhood with a significant income discrepancy and her mother is a high school dropout. It is noteworthy that adolescents from high socioeconomic backgrounds are more likely to have “pregnancy failure,” which is frequently an abortion, than being less likely to get pregnant (Hunter, 2012). In addition, the social stigma attached to adolescent pregnancies differs depending on the socioeconomic standing of the community. In rich countries, teenagers who “mess up” by getting pregnant by themselves or a partner are seen as stupid rather than wicked (Hunter, 2012). Such societal pressure may lead to increased abortions among higher-status youngsters.

Conclusion

Social structures impact teenage pregnancies and abortion. One of the reasons is what has been termed the culture of despair, where young women crave the good life, get married, and have money to sustain their needs. However, if this is not available, they may quickly get pregnant for someone to get support. Whenever they cannot sustain the child, they abort before giving birth. However, it has also been shown that the number of these teen pregnancies and abortions is reducing as people learn more about their impacts.

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  1. ACLU. (2022). Laws restricting teenagers’ access to Abortion. https://www.aclu.org/other/laws-restricting-teenagers-access abortion#:~:text=Almost%20350%2C000%20U.S.%20teenagers%20under,%2C%20and%2031%25%20have%20abortions.
  2. Hunter, L. M. (2012, April 26). U.S. teen birth rate correlates with state income inequality. https://www.prb.org/resources/u-s-teen-birth-rate-correlates-with-state-income-inequality/
  3. Livingston, G., & Thomas, D. (2020, May 30). Why is the U.S. teen birth rate falling? https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/08/02/why-is-the-teen-birth-rate-falling/
  4. WHO. (2022, September 15). Adolescent pregnancy. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/adolescent-pregnancy
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