- Family and Parenting
Minor Abortion: A Parent's Concern
A Parent's Concern
The mother of 17 year old boy had borrowed the cell phone of her son's when her phone looses battery charge. Going through her own messages to delete, she came across previous messages between her son and now ex-girlfriend. At first, she was just curious if they were getting back together. But then she came across messages that revealed a more serious topic. Last summer her son's girlfriend was pregnant and got an abortion. More importantly, the messages imply that the son felt "he had no choice in the matter", as he texted the girl, "you and your mom took that away from me". The mother begins to recall the changes in her son since last summer; the anger, withdrawal, and need for privacy. With this new information, she can now understand much of his behaviors and actions this past year. She feels empathy for her son having to go through this alone, and anger towards the parents of the daughter. She asks the question, " Should the parents of the girlfriend informed her?"
Emotional Impact of Abortion on Men
The mom had every right to be concerned for her son. His outbursts of anger, withdrawal, and need for privacy could have been directly related to the abortion. The most consistent emotion expressed by men following an abortion is anger. Men have the innate disposition to care for their young. When presented with a situation they have no control of, or a position where he is unable to protect or care for his young, he feels "weak" or inadequate as a man, as a person. He then may lash out at other people or at himself. Without addressing these feelings, through conversation, support, and / or counseling, the lack of control concerning the decision to abort can lead to mistrust in women in current and future relationships. Men need to have time to grieve for their unborn child.
"36 states require some type of parental involvement in a minor’s decision to have an abortion. 23 states require one or both parents to consent to the procedure, while 11 require that one or both parents be notified and 4 states require both parental consent and notification." According to the Guttmacher Institute.
Parental involvement or consent required by state is directed to the parental involvement or consent of the parents of the minor female. Parental consent or involvement is not required for the parents of the father of the unborn child.
Your Thoughts On The Matter
I questioned ten mothers from across the US to get their opinions on this topic. Here are my results:
- Do the parents of the daughter have an obligation to inform the boys parents due to the emotional implications of the situation? Mothers said no. Although it was suggested that the parents of the girl encourage the boy to talk to his parents about it, all agreed that they should not involve the other parents either in fear of conflict over the decision, or the emotional toll it could take on the daughter. Furthermore, it was also noted that in many cases neither parents are informed with the decision of the minor to abort.
- If you had a son, would you want to know? Ten out of ten said yes. However, three out of ten agreed that they would not be sure how to confront the son if given the information from another source and would prefer the son speak to them about it directly.
- If you had a daughter, would you inform the boy's parents? With hesitation from some, it was mutually decided that they would not. There are too many factors to consider when asked this question; the relationship of the couple, the familiarity of the parents to each other, etc. Whether the daughter knew or not, consideration for the implications of mistrust between parent and daughter was addressed. After all, it is a privilege for any parent to be involved, period.
Although heartbreaking as it may have been to discover the anger and pain of your child through a text message, the answer of whether the parents of the minor girl had any obligation to tell the other parents is no. This scenario, and many others like it, is yet another example of the importance of education and communication with your children is on these important and sensitive issues. The emotional toll this decision has on both children needs to be discussed and supported. My suggestion to this mother from my readers, my research, and myself is to not ignore what she has discovered. I would risk the anger that my son may feel for the "snooping", in order to help him through his grief and pain. For the mothers that stated they would want to know if this happened to their son, may I suggest you start now building the trust that is required. It is never too late to tell your son, "I love you no matter what. You can tell me anything".
Sources and Suggested Reading
- New mom with teens: The "Emotional Sex" Talk
- Men and Abortion: Do they have a say?
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- Life Issues Institute - the Impact of Abortion on Men