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When Urban Adolescents Choose Abortion: Effects on Education, Psychological Status and Subsequent Pregnancy

Laurie Schwab Zabin, Marilyn B. Hirsch and Mark R. Emerson
Family Planning Perspectives
Vol. 21, No. 6 (Nov. - Dec., 1989), pp. 248-255
Published by: Guttmacher Institute
DOI: 10.2307/2135377
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2135377
Page Count: 8
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When Urban Adolescents Choose Abortion: Effects on Education, Psychological Status and Subsequent Pregnancy
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Abstract

A group of 360 black teenage women of similar socioeconomic background who sought pregnancy tests from two Baltimore family planning providers was followed for two years to determine if those who obtained abortions were adversely affected by their abortion experience. After two years, the young women who had terminated their pregnancies were far more likely to have graduated from high school or to still be in school and at the appropriate grade level than were those who had decided to carry their pregnancy to term or those whose pregnancy test had been negative. Those who had obtained an abortion were also better off economically than were those in the other two groups after two years. An analysis of psychological stress showed that those who terminated their pregnancy had experienced no greater levels of stress or anxiety than had the other teenagers at the time of the pregnancy test, and they were no more likely to have psychological problems two years later. The teenagers who had obtained abortions were also less likely than the other two groups to experience a subsequent pregnancy during the following two years and were slightly more likely to practice contraception. Thus, two years after their abortions, the young women who had chosen to terminate an unwanted pregnancy were doing as well as (and usually better than) those who had had a baby or who had not been pregnant.

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