Rethinking Abortion

by  , Youth Reporter from Ujima

Editor’s Note: The following article was written by a youth reporter who is a graduate of the Urban Youth International Journalism Program.

Editor’s note: names in this story have been changed

Pregnancy can affect teen lives in several ways. The most common ways are dropping out of school, having to take care of the child alone or getting in terrible trouble by parents.

Although these are various outcomes for a pregnant teen, many teens opt to have an abortion. Abortions are very common these days and I think the reason they are is because teens lack proper sexual education.

Perhaps African American communities should find ways to reconsider how sex education is taught. According to the Guttmacher Institute, different races have varying abortion rates. African American women have a higher abortion rate than white and Hispanic women.

The African American rate is about 49 per 1,000 women. The Hispanic rate is 33 per 1,000 per women. The rate for non-Hispanic, white women is 13 per 1,000 women.

*Tiara Jacobs, 15, is an African American, teenage girl who had an abortion at an early age. She goes to a school in Bronzeville, where the baby’s 16-year-old father also attends.

“The reason why I had the abortion,” she said, “was because I was afraid to tell my mom. They didn’t know I was having sex and plus the baby’s father backed out.”

She wanted to stay in school, so her older sister and her best friend gave her the money for an abortion.

“I don’t regret having the abortion,” Jacobs said, but she wished she wouldn’t have had unprotected sex so she wouldn’t have been in that situation.

“He said he loved me and I had so many feelings for him. I let him take my virginity and he didn’t claim the baby,” Jacobs said.

This is what love can do to you. Her feelings were hurt very badly.

“I honestly thought that he was scared just like I was,” recalled Jacobs. “He was only 15 at the time so he didn’t know what to do. Boys can really be like that.”

*Journee Watkins, 22, also used abortion as a choice—twice. She was a teenager when she got her first abortion. The second one was after she had her first child. Journee said that abortions weren’t really her thing to do.

“The reason why I had my abortion at 17 was because I wanted to finish school and live my dream and a baby wouldn’t allow me to do so at an early age,” said Watkins.

Relationships are another reason why abortions happen often. The woman gets pregnant by the one she claims she loves. She tells him. He denies it. This was the type of the situation Journee Watkins experienced.

“The baby’s father was just bogus. He said that he loved me but I guess he didn’t. He accused me of cheating. How was I cheating when I’m with him 24/7? That just made me mad,” Watkins said.

Watkins was very hurt by her decision of getting an abortion because she wanted her babies, but they came at the wrong time.

“I wasn’t about to take care of a baby by myself. It takes two to make the baby,” she said.

She eventually wants a family and told herself that she’s not getting pregnant again until she’s married, so she wouldn’t have to go through this all over again.

Teens around my age need advice before they make the same mistake Tiara and Journee did. Abortions are not the only way to solve things. Maybe you could give the baby up for adoption, but not kill the fetus.

Teens and adults shouldn’t get abortions because of their mistakes. Parents should talk to their children so they won’t make that type of mistake because in the end you might feel guilty.

When parents say things like: “If I find out you having sex, I’m going to beat you seriously” or “You’re not going to go anywhere if you’re outside doing stuff you aren’t suppose to”—these comments get teens scared because they don’t want to get beat up and they don’t want to be on lockdown.

This prevents the teen from talking about issues with parents because they’re scared of what the consequence is. Parents should just talk to their children and take them to the clinic if they need protection.

This is a better way to stay close with your child—by communicating with them more.

Teens: if you are having sex, you should use protection. Yes, use condoms! That is one of the safest ways to keep from getting pregnant and all type of diseases. Don’t be scared to use them if you have them.

There are a lot of consequences that could happen and I don’t want anyone to go through any of it. So please just stay safe and don’t be scared to communicate.

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