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    Teenage pregnancies and the recriminalization of abortions [editorial]

    Wattleton F

    AMERICAN JOURNAL OF PUBLIC HEALTH. 1990 Mar; 80(3):269-70.

    Trends toward increasing restrictions on abortion in the U.S. since the Reagan administration are summarized, and implications for adolescent pregnancy noted. Although abortion was legalized in 1973 by the Supreme Court, federal administrative tactics sine 1982 have cut funding for Title X of the Public Health Service Act 15% from 1981-1989, required parental permission for adolescent abortion--"squeal rule", forbid informing, referring or counseling women about the possibility of abortion--"gag rule", and appointed Supreme Court justices such that cases concerning restriction on abortion are being decided restrictively. Public backlash has resulted in reversal of the parental notification requirement in publicly funded clinics and election of several "pro-choice" candidates. Research studies have shown that early childbearing is not beneficial to individuals or to society, and that parental notification does not improve family communication but delays abortion by as much as 23 days and encourages women to travel to other states for abortion. Restrictive policies regarding access to the public funding of abortion affect the poor, young and underprivileged disproportionately. Denying that the U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the developed world will not reverse the problem: only effective sexuality education, social intervention and complete, compassionate adolescent health care can prevent teen pregnancy and abortion.
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