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Reproductive Rights

My friend and I are both sixteen years old. Last week we found out that she was pregnant. We told her mother and my parents, both said she should get an abortion, I agree. She dosen't know what to do, but really there is no other choice. She is underpriviledged and the family lives off of social-security and survivor's benefits from her father's death.

The father of her child is already denying the child. Another one of our friends is telling her that people who have abortions are sick and it's wrong, and my friend is very into her image and how she appears to other people so she's going along with her. My question is how do I and my family and her mother convince her that abortion is the way to go?

I have some advice. First, from what you say, your friend is concerned about her image and about potentially being described as "sick" for having an abortion--however, I can assure her, that there are far greater stigma's against single, teenage mothers than there are against people who have abortions. However, I can't deny the obvious. There is a stigma against people who have abortions--yet 1 in 4 women have abortions, so it's really just projecting your guilt onto someone else.

I had an abortion when I was 19--I'm now 29--and I have never once regretted it. When I had my abortion, I thought that I was "dirty" - not necessarily for having the abortion, but for getting pregnant in the first place. Your friend has to be able to figure this out, too--which is it--the pregnancy or the abortion. My guess is that it is the former. Because I realized that no one should be made to feel ashamed of their circumstances, I vowed to speak out about the fact that I had an abortion in order to get rid of some of the stigma. So this note is one more attempt to do that.

Most of my friends have had abortions--and once you get a little older it is easier to talk about. Also, given her circumstances, as described by you, I think that if she chose to have this child it would not be in the child's best interest--and, therefore, would be a selfish decision on her part.

I hope the above helps--and I hope that if she chooses to have an abortion, that she goes to a safe place to have it. I recommend any Planned Parenthood clinic. Good luck and make sure your friend knows how lucky she is to have a friend like you


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