Send to

Choose Destination
J Sch Health. 1992 Sep;62(7):319-24.

Abortion among adolescents: research findings and the current debate.

Author information

Dept. of Population Dynamics, Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health, Baltimore, MD 21205.


Utilizing research that focuses on adolescents as well as findings in samples which might have special relevance to young, unmarried women, this report summarizes research on the consequences of abortion among adolescents. It discusses prior literature in the area of parental notification and parental consent, subjects on which public opinion is not divided along familiar pro-choice/anti-choice lines. Following a discussion of methodological problems identified in prior research, it reports on a study designed to address these problems in an adolescent population; it discusses implications for the current debate of this and other studies' findings that there are no identifiable adverse sequelae of the abortion process.


The abortion rate among U.S. teens has increased from 43/1,000 in 1981 to 46/1,000 in 1988, with abortions among teens accounting for 25% of total abortions in the U.s. These rates are significantly higher than those in Canada, England, France, Sweden, and the Netherlands which ranged over 5-26/1,000 in 1981. Prior studies of the physical and psychological consequences of abortions among teens almost unanimously indicate that negative sequelae do not exist. This paper summarizes research on the consequences of abortion among adolescents and discusses literature on parental notification and parental consent. Methodological problems found in prior research are also discussed, followed by a report on a Johns Hopkins University study designed to address these problems in an adolescent population. The Johns Hopkins study supports prior research demonstrating the lack of significant sequelae to abortion among teenage women. The medical consequences of childbearing are worse than those of abortion at all stages of gestation, while abortion even offers considerable advantages in the economic and educational areas. In contrast to mandated parental involvement proposed by the Bush administration, teenage women should be allowed the freedom to choose the less dangerous option of abortion without parental consent just as they are allowed to choose to bear children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center