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Semin Adolesc Med. 1985 Sep;1(3):213-22.

Abortion in adolescence.

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Raymond Blank Memorial Hospital for Children, Iowa Methodist Medical Center, Des Moines 50308.


This article reviews the difficult but complex subject of abortion in adolescents. Methods of abortion are outlined and additional aspects are presented: psychological effects, counseling issues, and legal parameters. It is our conclusion that intense efforts should be aimed at education of youth about sexuality and prevention of pregnancy, utilizing appropriate contraceptive services. When confronted with a youth having an unwanted pregnancy, all legal options need to be carefully explored: delivery, adoption, or abortion. The decision belongs to the youth and important individuals in her environment. Understanding developmental aspects of adolescence will help the clinician deal with the pregnant teenagers. If abortion is selected, a first trimester procedure is best. Finally, physicians are urged to be aware of the specific, ever changing legal dynamics concerning this subject which are present in their states. Abortion is a phenomenon which has become an emotional but undeniably important aspect of adolescent sexuality and adolescent health care, in this country and around the world.


A review of the complex issue of abortion as it pertains to adolescents. Various abortion methods are outlined and additional aspects such as the psychological effects, counseling issues, and legal ramifications are explored. Education is stressed as the possible solution to adolescent sexuality, pregnancy prevention, and contraception. With unwanted pregnancies, legal options should be carefully explored, including the issues of delivery, adoption, and of course, abortion. Emphasis is placed on careful and conscientious decisions by the young woman who wants an abortion and the important people in her environment who will affect her decision to abort. More importantly, the clinician should have a bread and thorough understanding of abortion in the adolescent as well as a knowledge of the developmental aspects of adolescence to aid the pregnant teenager through the difficult time in her life. If abortion is selected, a 1st trimester abortion is highly recommended. Physicians are urged to become more aware of the legal ramifications of abortion in their respective states, and to be more aware of the emotionally complex issue of adolescent sexuality, health care, and abortion throughout the country.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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