Arts & Social Sciences- Family, Gender & Sexuality In Contemporary Society

Teenage Pregnancy


Teenage pregnancy over the years has developed into an expansive subject in modern society making it a focal concern for young women with regard to health care arrangements. This is attributed to the rising levels in the number of young women pregnancies after the numbers had been gradually low as indicated by the 1990s. In the year 2006, the American nation noted a three percent increase in teenage pregnancies with the number of young women totaling up to seven hundred and fifty thousand, and they were all under the age of twenty (Guttmacher Institute, 2010). With the high number of pregnancies, the country also noted a four percent increase in the number of births and a one percent rise in the number of abortions (Guttmacher Institute, 2010). Teenage pregnancy levels as signaled by a rising abortion and birth levels have been rising steadily since then and this has consequently invoked a moral debate on the issue. The blame for the rise in teenage pregnancies has been directed to religious groups, schooling curriculums, lobby groups, societal settings, and the government, yet this serves as an indication for the underlying composite rendition of teenage nursing practices in the current contemporary society. In this discussion, we shall review the various mothering practices that teenagers have resorted to with the first being abortion as noted by the rise in abortion levels; the second and third being own care and adoption as encompassed by the increase in birth levels (Guttmacher Institute, 2010). Prior to this, we shall review the decision making process and the role it plays in a teenager’s life to aid with choice making among the three mothering options relayed previously.

Background of the Study

In the periods of 1970s and 1980s, the number of sexual activity among teenagers in the US increased in a steady rate and in turn, the pregnancies and birth levels too increased. Within the period of 1990 to early 2000, the number of sexually active teenagers fell due the HIV/AIDS scourge, shifts in social customs with regard to sex and its influencers, and the introduction of sex education that enhanced sexual knowledge concerning contraceptives and safe sex practices. These reduced the levels of teenage pregnancies and births (Guttmacher Institute, 2010). However, even with the decline, America still had the highest teenage pregnancy levels among the developed nations. In the year 2005, the first increment in teenage pregnancies was noted and research experts had to review the issue in a bid to identify the causal element. The first assumption was that teenage sexual activity was on the rise once more, while the second assumption was that enhanced medical healthcare had led to a lower mortality rate as well as less abortions and/or miscarriages. A research was conducted based on the two indicators and the results point out that between the years 2005 and 2006, abortion levels rose by one percent and upon factoring the number of miscarriages, the increase in percentage was three. Teenage pregnancy had an overall seven percent of the total pregnancies recorded in 2006 (Guttmacher Institute, 2010).

The Decision Making Process and The Role it Plays in Teenage Mothering Practices  

Teenage mothering practices in the US absolutely rely on the teenager’s decisions concerning the unborn baby. The decision making process involves the consideration of such factors as financial status, religion, family and friends, healthcare services, schooling level and societal setting (Males, 2010). The majority of teenagers in the US are still schooling and work can only be performed on a part-time basis. This means that they are still dependent on their parents for financial support despite having jobs or not. The males responsible for the fathering are also young in age with the same financial status acting on them. Religion encompasses the idealistic foundation of a person’s beliefs. Teenagers brought up in a religious setting tend to re-align their lives to fit the lifestyle that is in alignment to the given belief system (Males, 2010). Religions that condemn pre-marital indulgence in sex mould the nurturing system that the parents employ to the condemnation of pre-marital sex. Inverse religious tenets regarding sex would have the reverse effects on parenting and own decisions. Family, friends and societal setting are the other factors that teenagers consider and this is gauged by the acceptance that they offer to the affected teenager (Males, 2010). The affordability and easy access to healthcare facilities affects the decision process by lowering or enhancing the financial obligation. Lastly, education shapes the career paths for all individuals. The determining factor in this lies in the level of career build-up level that the teenager has acquired. From this, it is quite evident that morality plays but a single element in teenagers’ decisions regarding mothering practices.

Abortion and Teenage Pregnancies

The first practice that expectant teenagers may resolve to is abortion (Carroll, 2009). As indicated by the 2006 statistics, abortion levels increased by one percent in the US. With the level of dependence that teenagers have on their parents, it is quite difficult to mother a child with the feeding, healthcare, and other physical needs that a baby needs. The costs associated to abortion in terms of finances and in-kind tend to be lower than those associated with the decision to give birth to a child at such an age. Teenage mothers have to juggle between schooling activities and parenting, which is very strenuous (Carroll, 2009). Teenagers who opt for abortion have a higher probability of completing their studies and pursuing higher education as opposed to those that bear their children. Research has indicated that only forty percent of teenage mothers complete their high school education and attain their diplomas. In addition to this, those that make it to college level for degree programs before the age of thirty are a meager two percent of the total. Healthcare services in the US before 2005 had barred the abortion levels conducted by teenagers since the accessibility of such services was hard. This was due to the fact that only thirteen percent of the counties had abortion facilities (Guttmacher Institute, 2010). Parents and societal settings have also enhanced the level of abortion in the US as it is regarded as the better choice that diverts the shame that families have to undergo due to teenage pregnancies, supports the teenagers once more into their goals and aspirations, and averts the need to have financial strains. Debaters that take this position argue that teenagers are immature at their level of development, hindering their capabilities of providing and caring adequately for their newborns.

Delivery, Own Care and Teenage Pregnancies

The rest of the teenagers who do not opt for abortion have to undergo delivery and fend for the babies in their own level (Arai, 2009). Parents do play a significant role in such a decision where they may offer to support their daughter in the child’s upbringing. The first aspect is in financial matters where they purchase physical provision for the child. Secondly, the teenager’s mother will often offer babysitting help or pay for a babysitter that will be staying with the child as the young mother goes back to her schooling. Most of the religions too term abortion as an illegal practice even though the law recognizes it as a legalized issue. A teenager faced with this type of situation for fear of sinning will tend to opt for delivery. Most teenagers value their image not only among their parents but also amongst their peers (Arai, 2009). Isolation and gossip are by far the biggest obstacle that teenagers have to overcome. Most teenagers that opt for abortion attest this to the fact that they would not want to undergo the isolative and gossip brought about by their expectant status. However, when teenagers perceive that their friends, peers and parents have accepted them as they are, they tend to push forward with the pregnancy until the delivery. With the other necessary support, they will often resort to raising up the child with parental assistance.

The society too plays the same role of acceptance and support in teenage pregnancy. In the past, societies condemned the practice of pre-marital sex and this acted as a guard towards sexual activities because a sexually active individual would be stigmatized by the rest of the society (Arai, 2009). However, when this previous setting changed and sexual practices no longer condemned the affected individuals due to the Bill of Rights, the tolerance created enhanced the practice of premarital sex. The governmental provisions for better medical care as well as second chance institutes, where teenage mothers are offered facilities in which they are taught to bring up and fend for their children has been an encouraging factor for child delivery and care.

Adoption and Teenage Practices

Alternatively, governmental policies and framework have made it possible for teenage mothers to give their children up for adoption. The department of social welfare is mandated with the duty of ensuring that young mothers are provided with adequate facilities to aid in child upbringing. These social welfare services were introduced to ensure that children are provided with the best parental care needed for healthy development. The government offers monetary incentives to discourage biological mothers from opting to foster homes or adoption services (Pecora, et al., 2009). Research has indicated that adoption offers a good home to a child that might be facing a lot of problems from parents who do not care or those that lack the ability to provide good care to their children. Religious groups support adoption services with the aim of life preservation as opposed to abortion, which is termed as murder. With teenage pregnancies, religious groups would rather that babies be given up for adoption rather than killed. Various religious organizations have supported this by instituting foster homes in which adoption services are offered. Other than religious groups and governmental policies, parents and families too may take part in adoption as an alternative mothering practice.


In conclusion, we have been able to identify the various elements that influence teenagers’ decisions regarding pregnancies and how they shape the decision-making process. The first mothering practice reviewed was abortion whose legalization has spurred a lot of controversy. The implication of the abortion debate will lead to a rise in the number of abortions but the number of teenage practices will increase since the propagation of an abortion is an indication of a pregnancy (Carroll, 2009). Hence an increase in abortions is reflective of an increase in unwanted teenage pregnancies. Secondly, child support offered by the government, family members and friends plays a good role in teaching the affected individual the price associated to child upbringing. When teenagers relate to the real situation and learn the high cost of child bearing, this is bound to discourage them from further pregnancies (Arai, 2009). If they choose to remain sexually active, they are able to practice safe sex by the use of contraceptives. Consequently, this will lead to a decline in the number of teenage practices. Medical simulations like Baby Think It Over use the same concept but the babies used are mock-ups (Kralewski, & Stevens-Simon, 2000). Lastly, adoption just like abortion tends to take the weigh of the subject off the teenagers and this does not deal with their irresponsible behavior (Pecora, et al., 2009). This in turn will only lead to a rise in teenage pregnancies.




Arai, L. (2009). Teenage Pregnancy: The Making and Unmaking of a Problem. Boalsburg, PA: The Policy Press.

Carroll, J. L. (2009). Sexuality Now: Embracing Diversity. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Guttmacher Institute. (2010). U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions: National and State Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity. Retrieved September 9, 2010 from

Kralewski, J., & Stevens-Simon, C. (2000). Does Mothering a Doll Change Teens’ Thoughts About Pregnancy? Pediatrics 105 (3), 30.

Males, M. A. (2010). Teenage Sex and Pregnancy: Modern Myths, Unsexy Realities. Goleta, CA: ABC-CLIO.

Pecora, P. J., Whittaker, J., & Maluccio, A. (2009). The Child Welfare Challenge: Policy, Practice, and Research. Piscataway, NJ: Aldine Transaction.

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