A new Finish study claims to show that teens who have abortions are better off than those who give birth to their babies because pregnant teens who abort tend to achieve higher levels of education and be less dependent on welfare.
The study, published in the journal Human Reproduction, analyzed the socioeconomic, psychiatric and risk-taking-related health outcomes of pregnant teens up until they turned 25 years old.
The Philadelphia Daily News reports more about the study:
For the new study, the researchers analyzed data on 29,000 women born in Finland in 1987 and followed until 2012 when they were 25 years old. Of that group, 394 gave birth and 1,041 had abortions before age 18. The researchers compared the two groups with teen pregnancies to each other and to a reference group of women with no pregnancies before age 20.
The risk of psychiatric disorders and drug overdose by age 25 was similar for those who had an abortion and those who gave birth. The authors note that compared to the reference group, both groups with teen pregnancies were more economically disadvantaged and had higher levels of risk-taking behavior before and after becoming pregnant.
But compared to girls who gave birth, those who had an abortion got higher grades in school and tended to come from families with higher socioeconomic status. Both groups had lower levels of parental education and a higher need for income support in childhood than the reference group.
Study coauthor Oskari Heikinheimo of University of Helsinki and the Helsinki University Central Hospital told Reuters that the results are what they expected them to be.
“It becomes clear that really the only difference was, young women who went on to continue the pregnancy and deliver, their overall level of education was then lower than women who chose to have an abortion,” Heikinheimo said. “And of course it certainly makes a lot of sense.”
One interesting factor that the study did not emphasize, however, is the socioeconomic background of the teens who gave birth and had abortions. According to the newspaper, the study found that the teens who had abortions tended to come from families of higher socioeconomic levels. It makes sense then that the teens from wealthier families would attain higher educations and be less dependent on welfare. Given this information, the teens’ decisions to abort rather than give birth may not be as strong of a reason for the “better outcomes” as the study claimed.
Other studies have shown that young women do experience negative effects after aborting their unborn children.
A 2006 New Zealand study, “Abortion in young women and subsequent mental health,” found that women who aborted their unborn babies had higher rates of mental health problems, such as suicidal tendencies, drug and alcohol abuse, anxiety and depression. A 2008 study in the British Journal of Psychiatry found similar results among 500 women over a 30-year period. That study found a 30-percent higher risk of mental health problems among women who had abortions.
One encouraging factor in the U.S. is that teen pregnancy and abortion rates are falling to new lows. In April, LifeNews reported a new study indicating that abortions among teenagers dropped to the lowest point since 1973 when Roe v. Wade allowed abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy.
The 2011 teenage abortion rate was 13.5 per 1,000 women, the lowest since 1973, according to the report from the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute. The new number is a drop of nearly two-thirds since 1988, when the teen abortion rate peaked, according to the report.
The numbers appear to indicate that more pregnant teens are choosing to give birth to their babies. While the report found that fewer teens are getting pregnant, the numbers also indicated that the teens who are getting pregnant are not as likely to choose abortion. The researchers found that the number of teenage pregnancies that ended in abortion declined by one third from 1985 to 2007.