In the US, 35% of girls choose to terminate the teenage pregnancy. For many very young teens, it is thought that 70% of them had sex forced on them. In many cases, teenage abortion is an alternative option to a continuing a teenage pregnancy.
The laws surrounding abortion are controversial. Many states in the US have enacted (or are considering) enacting laws that restrict a teen’s access to abortion by requiring parental involvement in the abortion decision. Toughest anti-abortion law states include Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Louisiana and South Dakota.
In Australia, abortion laws limit the availability of terminating a teenage pregnancy. For most states (except the Australian Capital Territory and Western Australia up to 24 weeks), abortion is legal only on a doctor’s approval (or joint approval of two doctors).
In the UK, abortions can only be carried out during the first 24 weeks of the pregnancy.
Type of abortions
There are 2 types of abortions:
- abortion pill; and
- in-clinic abortion.
Abortion pill (RU486 or Mifepristone)
For teenage pregnancies, the abortion pill is usually the preferred option for a teenage abortion. The abortion pill is called Mifepristone and was known as the RU486 when it was developed. It is available in the US, Australia and the UK (and many other countries).
Facts about the abortion pill:
- the abortion pill can only be taken early in the pregnancy (usually up to 9 weeks);
- the abortion pill is generally safe and effective;
- the abortion pill has a 97% success rate of terminating the pregnancy;
- the process is private and the teen may complete the process of abortion at home;
- there is no anesthesia needed;
- the effect is more like a miscarriage; and
- taking the abortion pill is less invasive than an in-clinic abortion.
Teenage abortion in the clinic
Beyond 9 weeks, a teenage abortion is carried out in a clinic. Facts about in-clinic abortions:
- an in-clinic abortion is a medical procedure to end a pregnancy;
- there are 2 types of in-clinic abortion:
- aspiration for abortions before 16 weeks into the pregnancy; and
- dilation and evacuation after 16 weeks;
- an in-clinic abortion it is generally safe and effective;
- the cost of an in-clinic abortion is usually more than an abortion pill.