The nature of my job is such that several times a year, teens or young adults confide in me about unplanned pregnancy. Their fears are many:
- What will my parents say?
- Will my friends or partner reject me?
- Will I be able to continue my plans for school and a career?
Girls worry about pain and physical complications. Boys worry about losing their freedom or figuring out how to provide for a child. Kids in these situations often feel alone, terrified, and trapped. Many consider abortion as a way out of what may feel like an impossible situation.
In my community, probably the majority of young people in this situation find their way to Planned Parenthood for a free pregnancy test. But what they get there is so much more.
First, they have an opportunity to share their dilemma with caring, professional adults who will not judge or condemn them. That often gives them the courage to share information with others, including family and friends. Once their "secret" is shared, the sense of panic subsides.
Secondly, they receive objective, factual information about how to care for themselves, how to care for an unborn child, and how to avoid unexpected pregnancies in the future. Should they choose to continue the pregnancy—and the vast majority do—they get information they need about community services to help them and their child.
Virtually every week, a story hits the national news about the horrendous life or death of an infant or toddler at the hands of tragically unsuitable parents—parents who may be addicts, mentally ill, or abysmally ignorant about a child's needs. If such parents never conceived, the world would be spared a great deal of suffering.
I have no doubt whatever that without Planned Parenthood, there would be a lot more unplanned pregnancies than there are—and many, many more of them would end in abortion.