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Abortion Among Young Women

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Abortion among young women and subsequent life outcomes. Fergusson, David M., Joseph M. Boden, and L. John Horwood. Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health 39.1 (March 2007): 6(7). Expanded Academic ASAP. Gale. Los Angeles Harbor College CCL. 5 Nov. 2007

The report “Abortion among young women and subsequent life outcomes” discusses young women and the effects of unplanned pregnancies on future life outcomes. Research shows that women who choose abortion are frequently concerned with education, employment and relationships, as reasons for seeking abortion. There is little evidence as to whether abortion leads to improved life outcomes for young women who choose this option.

The central research issue was to find out why women chose abortion. Women were interviewed at three different time points following an abortion to understand why they chose abortion. The life course of women following abortion before the age of 21 in New Zealand. The analyses were based on 492 female participants. Young women who had abortions stated that they felt unprepared for motherhood, and stated that interference with educational opportunities as an important reason for choosing this option. Seventy-five percent of abortion patients listed interference with education or being unable to afford a baby as a primary reason for having an abortion, while almost half listed potential relationship problems.
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Teenage parenthood has a lot to do with educational underachievement, poverty, welfare dependence, domestic violence and impaired partnership relationships.
Women who gave birth while young were more likely than other mothers to become welfare-dependent. Most would agree that abortion is a consequence of mistimed or unwanted pregnancies but a limited number of studies have examined whether young women who have abortions have better life course outcomes than young women who become pregnant but do not seek abortions. So the purpose of this study is to find out if these two groups would have similar educational and related outcomes. Sample members were interviewed at ages 15, 16, 18 and 21 about their pregnancy and abortion experience since the previous assessment. These reports showed that 125 women (25% of the sample) had had at least one pregnancy by age 21. A total of 172 pregnancies were reported, of which 55% had resulted in a live birth, 31% had been terminated by abortion and 14% had ended in miscarriage.

Compared with young women who became pregnant before age 21 but did not seek an abortion, young women who had an abortion had significantly better outcomes on six out of 10 measures spanning education, income, welfare dependence and domestic violence. Adjustment for con founding factors indicated that most of these differences were explained by family, social and educational characteristics that were present prior to pregnancy. Nonetheless, even after adjustment for confounding factors, young women who had abortions had higher levels of subsequent educational achievement than those who became pregnant but did not have abortions.

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