Teen Fathers: Are They Getting the Short End of the Stick?

Written by: Allison Crist

    In 2012, it was announced that the rate of teenagers becoming mothers is declining rapidly, according to a new report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). However, many people think that teen pregnancy is still both supported and glorified. With shows like 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom, it’s hard to ignore a topic like this. Are teen dads getting the attention they need, though?  Fact: Of teenage women who become pregnant, about 35% choose to have an abortion rather than bear a child. (National Abortion Federation)

    Here’s the shocker though: there are no laws which allow a biological father to stop an abortion. American fathers have no rights until the child is born. Despite anyone’s specific beliefs about when a child becomes a child, the law is the law. Many believe this doesn’t make sense due to the fact that in most cases a pregnant teen cannot legally choose adoption if the father disapproves. Therefore, according to the law, a father can stop an adoption but not an abortion.

    There are plenty of different opinions on whether this is fair or not. “The father isn’t the one who’s going to be carrying the child. Ultimately, it should be the mother’s decision whether or not to get an abortion. He could say, ‘No, don’t get one,’ and disappear after that. Then, the mother is left to take care of the child on her own.” Junior Tori Bejarano said.

    Other opinions differ, “In my opinion, I believe a father should have a say. If the mom doesn’t want to take care of the baby, the father should have the opportunity to take care of him or her. He can have full custody. It’s just as much the dad’s baby as it is the mother’s.” Amber Garver, also a junior, said.

    In most states, the teenage father of a child is still required to pay child support if separated from the mother. If he cannot provide his parents must. So, if a teen father is forced by the law to pay child support, should he have the right to stop the mother from getting their baby aborted?

    Another issue that arises with teen abortion is whether or not the girl should have to get parental permission. Only certain states require that one parent must be told of the decision to get an abortion. Schools aren’t allowed to give students Aspirin without parental permission; yet, an abortion is allowed without permission in multiple states.

    This is a touchy subject overall because it all comes down to a person’s beliefs. People will either support or condemn the decision to get an abortion. Sophomore Joe Gorman said, “I’m against abortion but that’s my opinion. I think someone who gets an abortion will regret it later in life because they can’t take it back. Plus there are a lot of risks.”

Although getting a baby aborted is a right anyone has, there are many risks. Studies have proven that abortion may lead to an increased chance of breast cancer, Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, depression, and the contraction of Viral Hepatitis, not to mention death due to excessive bleeding or other complications.

    A student who would like to stay anonymous explained, “This is really personal, but I think it’s important for people to know. My aunt got an abortion when she was 17. Obviously, she wasn’t ready to be a mother and didn’t want to be humiliated at school. So, she chose to do what she did. To this day, she still suffers from depression that stemmed from the abortion. She told me for the longest time, she just felt empty and that it’s her biggest regret.”

    Another student here at BLHS who didn’t want their name released said, “Although Kansas is made up of mostly Republicans, I remain pro-choice. Whatever happened to separation of church and state? One person’s religious beliefs are no better than another’s. Who can decide what is wrong and right?”

There are hundreds of aspects that could be argued in regards to abortion. In the end, what it comes down to is personal beliefs. Should it just become illegal? “I feel like there are plenty of couples out there who are ready for a baby but they can’t. It’s not fair. Instead of killing the baby, give it up for adoption to someone who is ready to be a mother,” Senior Hannah Ford said. However, as long as it stays legal, it is a right granted to all Americans.