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Abortion: Can It Be Prevented?

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Abortion amongst teenagers has increased within the last decade. Due to the lack of parental guidance and education at school, children are more prone to engaging in unprotected sex, which is one of the leading causes to abortion. Through the years, different techniques are being utilized to prevent pregnancies or give alternatives to abortion. Better education regarding sex and improvements with contraception has made a lot of advancements in the past years.

Teenage attitudes towards abortion in general and for themselves vary greatly. Some thinks that it is always wrong for a woman to have an abortion. Some see it as all right for some women but wrong for themselves. Others believe that abortion is acceptable for themselves and others. These different views are tied clearly to the decisions pregnant girls make concerning the outcome of their own pregnancies. These views need to be influenced by the parents of these teens. They need to be taught that abortion can be evaded (Voydanoff 73).

For many teens, abortion is used as a coping mechanism for adolescents who are not ready for parenthood. The intention to have an abortion is the most important determinant of actually having an abortion. The most important things to consider when having intentions to have an abortion are the attitude towards abortion, perceived costs of parenting, and the perceived of mother, male partner, and clergy. Parents need to step in and talk to their children about sex and the consequences if they do become pregnant. They need to get through to their children that all of this could be avoided. (East 123)

Many national organizations have suggested that certain approaches be administered by teachers in the classroom regarding sex education. These approaches included abstinence, reducing the number of partners, knowledge of the STD's, and using contraceptives effectively when becoming sexually active. Abstinence is stressed for preventing unwanted pregnancies and STD's (Landry 261).

Sex education is taught in the majority of all public secondary schools in the United States. The criterion of what is taught in each classroom varies, but is primarily based on abstinence and the effectiveness of various contraceptives that could be used while sexually active (Landry 261).

In 1998, a survey was conducted to find out whether or not sex education should continue to be taught in the classroom. Sixty nine percent of the classrooms were taught abstinence and contraceptive use. Thirty five percent of those were strongly instructed that abstinence was the only answer outside of marriage.

Not only is the material taught in the classrooms important, but the success of getting through to the children. "For example health educators receive more training in sex education than physical education teachers do" (Landry 262). The size of a school also comes into the equation. "A large student enrollment or a high proportion of impoverished students generally has a relatively high proportion of sexually active students, where they may receive increased support from officials and the local community for instruction on birth control and STD prevention" (Landry 262).

Teen Pregnancy in the United States has been mocked as a "unique American dilemma" by former New Jersey Governor Thomas Kean. He and economist Isabel Sawhill organized a nonprofit national campaign to prevent teenage pregnancies. Their goal is continuous advertisements to spread the word. California introduced an advertising campaign "emphasizing the difficult consequences of single-motherhood. State and private contributions are expected to pay for twenty two million dollars in TV commercials. The ads end with a phone number directing callers to services for teenagers" (CSM 1).

Although these TV commercials will reach a lot of teenagers, it is not enough. A guidebook was also made regarding any pregnancy protection program. "It should: stress abstinence and personal responsibility; help teens make plans to move their lives forward; make sure adult mentors are involved in children's lives; bring together schools, businesses and religious organizations; and maintain a long-term commitment to teens" (CSM 1).

Sex education needs to be stressed much more in the classroom. They need to get through to their students. If not stressed in schools, there needs to be more programs or organizations that stress the key points like the guidebook made by the Department of Health and Human Services. "Progress has already been made, as evidenced. By the decline in sexual activity," President Clinton adds that "there's still more to be done.



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