The right to choose?

@relundad (2311)
United States
July 19, 2008 10:30pm CST
Let me start my saying that I know this discussion will cause some very strong opinions and that's cool but thats why we are here right? You basically have the opportunity to voice your opinions, give your thoughts, discuss, listen and learn. Well here goes...A couple of weeks ago I started a discussion titled "your decision or hers?" Basically I wanted to know if you were the parent of a teenaged daughter (for the sake of discussion lets say she is 15) that was still living in your home and totally dependent on you for every aspect of support, and she was pregnant. My question was is it does she have the right to choose whether or not to terminate the pregnacy and if she chose to have the baby would you feel obligated to support your child and her child? The majority (maybe all) of the people that responded to the discussion felt that it was her right to have the baby and that the parent should not force the child to terminate the pregnacy. Well my question for this discussion is why is it so imperative that I give this child whom I make every other decision in their life for, why should she now have the right to choose? What about the right for the parent to choose whether or not they want to take on the responsibility of another child? What about my right to decide that since the child now has acted as an adult that she should now do the adult thing and support her child? What about my right to decide whether I want to facilitate her in becoming the next statistical high school drop out? What about the right to choose whether I offer her any more financial support? Since she is pregnant is she the only one that has the right to choose?
5 people like this
19 responses
@soooobored (1187)
• United States
20 Jul 08
I remember that discussion, and I was one of the responders urging you NOT to force her to have an abortion. As I see it, if I were in HER shoes, I would rather have you throw me out and force me to support myself than force me to have an abortion. Of course I see that you love her, and that's probably not something that you would do, but ultimately (again if I was in her shoes) I would rather be pregnant and homeless than forced to terminate a pregnancy. I do think though that you can strongly counsel for adoption, again you can't force her to do it, but it is probably the best option. Do you have any childless relatives? Please keep us posted, I would very much like to hear how this works out for you. Good luck!!
1 person likes this
@relundad (2311)
• United States
20 Jul 08
Actually this is a hypothetical discussion. I just wanted to her the opinions of others if faced with that situation. And why they support the view that they have. Now that you have brought up the part about childless relatives what do you think the emotional outcome would be for that type of situation and how do you know that later in life with them always being around what that relationship or relationships would be like? How emotional would that be to know that you carried a child, gave up the child to a relative thats around and that too was not your decision but you are forced to live with. And what about the child later in life that learns that my cousin is really my mother that gave me up because she didn't want me or couldnt care for me. And my aunt is really my grandmother ...etc. Good points...thanks for your input.
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
20 Jul 08
Yep, I was not a young mom nor a teen mom, but had something like that happened to me, I would have definitely taken advantage of every program to help myself be independent - entirely independent. If I had not met my husband, I would have chosen to be a single unmarried mom by help of a sperm bank. I would not have allowed ANYBODY to try and convince me otherwise or force any choice on me except what I wanted for myself. I wish that other people had this same conviction and were as determined to be independent instead of codependent on other people. Sooo.. I agree. I'd rather be pregnant and homeless and forced to support myself and my baby than forced into having an abortion I didn't want, or forced to give up my own child.
• United States
21 Jul 08
I agree with you, Mommyboo! As far as adoption, I've heard a lot of women say that they couldn't give a child up for adoption, it would hurt too much. Yet they are willing to get abortions? Given the options here are 1. force abortion on her 2. raise and possibly resent a grandchild, I think other options should be highlighted, if not utilized. Thanks!
@Barb42 (4216)
• United States
20 Jul 08
I would think that a girl of 15 would not have a choice in the decision made. You are the parent and the one that supports her. But my concern would be for the child. I would consider that baby she is carrying my grandchild. I would have a hard time making her have an abortion or giving it up for adoption; in fact, I wouldn't. And, if that is what she wanted, I would want to keep her from having it. I think every child is here for a purpose, even those that are not planned on. A 15 year old is not an adult and doesn't have the decision making tools that adults have. And as an adult, the parent has to make hard decisions sometimes for a child. I have seen girls who have gotten into trouble, teen pregnancy, who had the baby, was supported by the parent, finished school and went on to lead a great life. When these things happen, it does upset the family routine, for sure. But I think having an abortion leaves a girl worse off than having a baby as a teen. She will always have the thought 'what if', or 'where is my child?', if she is forced to have it and give it up. As a parent, I could never force my child to give up her child, my grandchild. I have 6 grandchildren, and I can't see life without them. Just look what we would have missed if one of those had been aborted. I suppose your question mostly hinges on whether it is her right or yours to make the decision to have the baby, to giver her more support, or perhaps you cutting off all support. I can only tell you what I would do. You have to make that decision for your family. But I would really give it thought before making such a decision. Life is so precious, even that of a wayward child. That daughter will grow up some day but will always be your child. A saying that my Mother has is "a baby steps on your feet, but, when they grow up, they step on your heart". And I do believe sometimes it is true.
@relundad (2311)
• United States
20 Jul 08
Hi Barb, thanks for your well thought response! For the record I don't have a daughter but just wanted to know the opinions of mylotters. Again thanks for your opinion.
1 person likes this
@Barb42 (4216)
• United States
20 Jul 08
Thanks. I had read where you only had a son. But perhaps this discussion can help other mothers who are going through the experience. It happens more than we want to admit.
1 person likes this
@penny64 (1106)
• Australia
20 Jul 08
This is a very powerful discussion. There are always going to be circumstances which shadow a reply, but I would say that if it were me and my daughter fell pregnant, I would take on the responsibility and support my daughter and her child. My reason for this is that, as a mother, I feel responsible for my child for life - whether she be five, fifteen or fifty five. I expect she will make mistakes in life, and sometimes those mistakes will have huge consequences. I took on the job when I had her. I would want to look after the welfare of my child and my child's child. I would imagine that the damage caused by forcing your child to unwillingly terminate a pregnancy would be beyond repair. She's not an adult just because she can become pregnant, but motherhood is one of (if not THE) strongest bonds, even before the child is born. Pregnancy changes everything. You can't destroy someone's child and expect everything to go back to normal, even if that someone is your own daughter.
1 person likes this
@relundad (2311)
• United States
20 Jul 08
Hi Penny! Thanks for your response. You are right you have no way of know what the outcome would be for the relationship and all parties involved. As a mother I too believe that you should support your kids, however I think that support is and should be age and/or maturity appropiate. By that I mean that at minor age I expect to and plan to fully support my child. His every need is not only my desire to fulfill but my obligation. But I will not support him financially for instance as an adult. I will offer help if he needs it. But I will not take care of a physically and mentally fit adult, even if its my child.
2 people like this
@penny64 (1106)
• Australia
20 Jul 08
I can see exactly where you are coming from. I guess the question would then be, "What is mentally and physically fit?" I would think that, in my family, an able bodied adult who wanted to be totally financially supported by his or her parents would actually have some sort of mental problem, be it depression or just plain laziness. Either way, I would expect my child to get help, and would use the financial situation to force it to happen. Again, in another family this could be completely different. I have brought my child up, and so my child and I would know what to expect from each other.
@livintx49 (245)
• United States
20 Jul 08
Let me start with this.When I was 15 I got pregnant.That was in "74".No one ever told me about birth control.For some reason my parents let me run around with older kids.So I did. I kept my son, I love him.To be honest he would have had a better life had I gave him up.I worked hard and went to school and tried to take care of him.This decision should be her parents,she's a minor.I wish mine would have stepped in and done something.I might have hated them in that moment but think about the future of her and the child.Abortion or adoption.You will have support.
@relundad (2311)
• United States
20 Jul 08
Thank you for your input. You are definitely the minority here!
• United States
20 Jul 08
Let's think on this seriously, http://www.jlc.org/factsheets/4/ The above law made some changes that are both good and bad. The question of who has the right to choose is actually simple. The adult makes their choice and if the child/mother does not like that choice, she makes her own. No, a parent doesn't have all the "rights" on this issue. But, in the same token, they do NOT owe their child a safe haven to bring their grandchild into. This is an issue of the heart... can you, will you, is it really wrong! To me, abortion isn't wrong. If you are not capable of being a parent and supporting a child, why bring one into this world for someone else to end up taking care of it? I read that many people have went ahead and had babies that they didn't really want and that those are the ones most often abused. That is sad! Especially when there is another choice.
1 person likes this
@relundad (2311)
• United States
20 Jul 08
Hi RhythmWalker thanks for the info.
• United States
20 Jul 08
hmm this is a hard one.. i think people just dont think anyone should chose a procedure such as an abortion be pressed onto another one since some people dont take abortions well and have emotional problems and guilt etc.. i would want my daughter to have an abortion so she could enjoy being young now and then later on she could have kids then when she is ready but i also know teens that have gotten pregnant and their parents forced them or made them give up the baby etc.. i would be the most worried if i forced my daughter to have one is that she have issues with it later and would ruin our relationship and she would just run away and get pregnant again and have it this time..
@relundad (2311)
• United States
20 Jul 08
Thanks for responding...I hear ya, and I am fully aware of the risk proposed with either decision and unfortunately we have no way of knowing the outcome without the action. But my question is the child the only one that has the right to choose?
2 people like this
• United States
20 Jul 08
i dont know its her body so i would guess the choice would be yes she can choose but then your paying and taking care of everything so i guess you could choose to.. i think i would go with you choosing being right or at least acceptable
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
20 Jul 08
Yes, the mother is the one who has the right to choose. It is her body, whether she is 15 or 60. I would venture to say that the father of the baby also has a part in the decision, although the final say is still the mother's. It would depend how involved - if at all - the father was and how involved he would be based on the choice he was proposing as well. For instance if the mother was 15 and the father was 17 and the mother wanted to have an abortion or give up the baby and the father wanted to raise the baby himself and he could - without a lot of help from his parents, then I'd say the father would have the right based on the mother not wanting to keep the baby and the father not depending on other people for support - IF he could get her to agree. However, if the mother was say... 25 and the father didn't even want anything to do with the mother or baby and she was going to keep the baby and he wanted her to have an abortion because he didn't want to pay child support, well then the idiot gets to pay child support!
1 person likes this
@fiona08 (454)
• United States
21 Jul 08
I agree with the ones who said the daughter has the right to make the decision to have the baby or to abort. Ultimately, that decision does have to belong to the person who is pregnant, no matter her age. However, beyond that, the parents of the pregnant teen absolutely have a choice about whether to help her raise the baby. You do not have to help her financially if you don't feel good about it. You certainly do not have to raise the baby for her. It is a very personal decision. If you refuse to help her, she may be forced to make another very tough decision. She may have to give the baby to someone who can raise it, and make sure the child's needs are taken care of. There is no easy decision for either party here. Hopefully we are educating teens more now, and making sure they have access to birth control options, and are aware of the risks they are taking when they choose to become sexually active.
@relundad (2311)
• United States
21 Jul 08
Hi fiona, thanks for your opinion
@deemazing (395)
• United States
21 Jul 08
I had commented on that discussion and stated that it should be her decision. I just do not feel that it is right to put that kind of emotional damage on anyone by making them do something that can evoke such heartache and bad memories for the rest of their life. As far as the financial responsibility, I believe that once a young girl has a child she should be treated almost like an adult, therefore, she should be responsible for her child financially. I do not feel that the parent should be responsible, and I do not believe that the government should have to pay her because of her decision(example: welfare).
@relundad (2311)
• United States
21 Jul 08
Hi thanks for your input. I am of the opinion that a child obviously not capable of making that type of decision. Especially if she ended up in the position that we are talking about. To speak of financial support, surely you don't think that a part time job will suffice. In my state, average cost of daycare for a newborn is 150 per week. If like most teenage mothers if she dropped out of high school to work full time she would gross 234 dollars a week. So that will take care of the daycare and she could probally feed the baby for part of the week and even buy enough disposable diapers for half a week. Transportation and housing is out of the question. So talk about heartache, thats enough to give you one. I'd like to see what kind of decision making skills she has at this point, how to clothe,feed and house a child with less than 200 dollars a week. Nevermind that legally she can't get a place to live. Everybody seems to look at this from the immediate emotional standpoint but I think everyone forgets that is just part of the bigger picture. And that scenario that I talked about earlier will more than likely be her financial position for a long time to come. So parent becomes enslaved to the financial welfare of her child and grandchild for who knows how long...
@Amber4106 (541)
• United States
20 Jul 08
You're right, this is a very touchy subject and any opinion on it will be strong. It is hard for me to say anything, mainly because I don't have any teenage children in my home, just a baby on the way. In a way, I feel that if this teenager was able to go out and get pregnant, then she can go out and get a part-time job to support this decision that she has made. I don't believe in abortion, unless the pregnancy was caused by rape or known health problems that will cause serious problems in the pregnancy. It's still so hard to say though. I don't know if I would want to support my daughter and her expected child. But, I would want my daughter to be able to stay in school and get a good education and move on to college. It would be hard for her to work to support her baby and go to school at the same time. I know for sure that I wouldn't want her to terminate the pregnancy, and God-willing, we would find some way to work through it.
@relundad (2311)
• United States
20 Jul 08
Thanks for your input Amber, and congrats on your pregnacy.
• Bahamas
20 Jul 08
Hi relundad! As you know i was faced with this situation, and while i chose to support my daughter, i still felt trapped into a situation that i would have rather not happened. My thinking is it is her body, and she alone can make the ultimite decision what to do. Is it fair to me as her mother? i say NO,i can see the point you're trying to make. To often children that can't decide what they're going to eat are relied upon to make life changing decisions such as bringing a life into the world. We are legally bound to take care of our minor children, but cannot legally terminate their pregnancy. In my case my daughter was able to finish high school, and the father financially supports my grandson. And although i love my grandson to no end, i wish she had done it differently, it's funny that she still relies on me to assist in simple matters but when it came to the most important thing she didn't consult me.
@relundad (2311)
• United States
20 Jul 08
I know right! Well glad thus far everything has worked out the best that it could have considering...the ups and downs of life!
@wachit14 (3600)
• United States
20 Jul 08
First of all, I don't believe a parent has the right to choose an abortion for their underage daughter. It is still HER choice and not the choice of the parent, although some states have made it mandatory that parents have to given CONSENT before a termination can take place. So the original question was moot, for the most part. As for the second part of the question, if a child then chooses to go to term with her pregnancy and not make an adoption plan for that child, technically, it is her responsibility to care for that child, in the eyes of the law, not her parents. Fortunately, at least in our state, there are alternative educational programs which provide childcare for girls who still wish to pursue their high school diploma. From a personal note, I would endeavor to help my daughter pursue her academic career so that she can actually make a life for herself and her child. Give a man a fish and he can eat for a day; teach a man how to fish and he can eat for the rest of his life.
@relundad (2311)
• United States
20 Jul 08
LOL...fishing is probally what started the whole ordeal...she swallowed the bait...lol. I hear your point. Thanks for your input.
20 Jul 08
what do you mean by powerful discussion
@relundad (2311)
• United States
20 Jul 08
Powerful discussion? Not sure what you are talking about..
@Hatley (164469)
• Garden Grove, California
20 Jul 08
relundad first this because it is her body,not yours, if you were p regnant and did not want itwould you not want the right to choose, look you are her mom whether you are happy about the situation or not, dont moms support their children: why are'you punishing her for an error she has already been punished for I am sure, I know you are probably tired and not looking forward to raising any more kids, but if she wants the baby and is willingto care for it herself, why not support her decision.of course she should be on her own but she is onlyh fifteen, not an adult yet,do you really want to throw her to the wolves so to speak. Also consider this abortion is murdering an unborn child, one who might be the next person to cure cancer or any other wonderful thing, why kill it?I know, a lot of people dont think that way but killing something is still killing something. I am sorry but I just dont have much sympathy here for a mom who wants to throw her pregnant kid out in the cold.
@relundad (2311)
• United States
20 Jul 08
First dont assume that because a discussion is started or a question is posed that its specific to the author. The discussion does not have to be specific to you to pose the question. For the record I have one child, he is 9 years old. You don't know whether or not I support termination or not. The basic question is simple...Is the child the only person that has the right to choose? Lets try again...
1 person likes this
@mommyboo (13198)
• United States
20 Jul 08
Well, since she chose to do something that led to a pregnancy, the pregnancy IS her responsibility. I agree that it is up to the mother (regardless of age) to decide what goes on with her own body, to keep a child, to give it up for adoption, and yes even to have an abortion. I personally do not agree with abortion as birth control but I do believe in the choices of women, and I know that some choices will not be ones I would make. If my 15 year old daughter chose to keep a baby, I would not feel 'obligated' to support her and her child. Bottom line, whether she was a teen or not, it would still be HER child. I would feel obligated to teach her the skills to start taking care of herself, become independent, and learn how to be a good parent, but that doesn't necessarily mean I would continue to solely financially support her or the baby or provide care for the baby. As an adult with more skills and knowledge and being a parent, definitely I would be charged to impart those skills and knowledge to her, and to provide short term help while she was learning, but beyond that, no. If somebody indulges in 'adult' pleasures, they get the 'adult' responsibilities along with it, there is no benefits without responsibility. If I recall correctly, most 15 year olds do make some of their own decisions. Some of them even make most of their own decisions, if they are an only child of two very busy working parents. They often get up and go to school on their own, fix their own snack, their own dinner, perhaps work an odd or part time job, do their homework, go to bed, mostly unsupervised. They may or may not have a boyfriend or girlfriend or have a social circle that influences them more than their parents do. This isn't to say this is wise or that they are smart or make good decisions, but they do have the opportunity to make a lot of personal decisions. The parent (in my opinion) DOES have the choice to decide whether or not to take on the responsibility of another child. You do not have to do this. Ever. This isn't to say you do not support your child. You can support your child without including finances, time, etc etc. You do not have to raise your grandchild just because your child has a child. I think it is better to expect THEM to if they make the choice to keep the baby. Help them to do it, but expect them to do it. They also do not have to become a drop-out. There are alternative programs for teens who become young parents. She could study and receive a GED. Then she could begin college courses online. I think that teens who become parents have a responsibility too. They need to become independent asap - not only should they finish high school at least, they should also find a job, even if it's only part time. They should see whether they qualify for programs to help them get out on their own financially, in the form of housing aid so they are not a burden on their parents. As a parent you can do whatever you would like. Many parents disown and kick out their pregnant daughters. Some of them beat up or threaten to kill their pregnant daughters! A parent should support a child who is still a minor, but again if the child decides to do adult things, then they need to be at least partially responsible for their own actions and absolve their parent of further responsibility. It would be best to sit down in a situation like this and discuss what you are willing to do and what your daughter should do, or is willing to do. It is easier to deal with a situation like this if you can talk about it and come up with a solution that works for all parties without judgement and anger and bitterness and other things clouding everybody's perception. Just think about it, would you like somebody else making a decision for YOU without your input? If the answer is no, then clearly other people would not want you making a decision for THEM.
• United States
20 Jul 08
I'm in agreement that forcing anyone to have an abortion against their will could cause devastation and irreparable damage - to their psyche and to the parent/child relationship. Though I don't see why not choosing that option would cause you to be responsible for the child and her child for life. There is another option - adoption. I think in this position, a parent has a right to inform the child fully of all the options and work with the child to find the right solution for the family.
20 Jul 08
I am with the opinion that as parents we have every right to teach, to guide and at the same time to be the shoulders to cry on when they need one. Having said that, I would say that this is "we are in this TOGETHER" kind of situation. So as parents, we ought to be careful, on one hand, to approach this very delicate situation where the child could feel isolated and alone without our support. And we should not panick, on the other hand, so as to create an atmosphere of calm and stability. If I may add, nobody has the right to choose what is wrong. I think we should strive TOGETHER (parents and children) to choose what is right. After all, a problem cannot be solved with another problem.
@lyzabelle (1668)
• Philippines
20 Jul 08
[b]I have the chance to post my comment about your problem with your teenage pregnant daughter. I have commented that abortion is not the answer. It's like killing the unborn baby. It's just my opinion and give you mine. You can take it or leave it. I will pray that you will have the peace of mind to decide what's best for the three of you.[/b]
@bmorehouse1 (1029)
• United States
20 Jul 08
There are always two sides to things. The 15-yr old pregnant daughter has a right to make decisions relating to her body. The mother has the right to say "Hey, I'm not raising another baby!" And yes the 15 year old should take on the responsiblity of supporting that child if she is going to keep it. She should not expect her parents to have to take on the responsibility of a mistake that she made. Although I think that decisions should be made for her to continue her education. That is important. Best wishes and good luck!
@sid556 (31003)
• United States
20 Jul 08
I do have a teen daughter and 3 that are now grown and this is an issue that I've thought deeply about often. I do feel that she would have the right to choose. It is a life long decision and one that I don't want to be blamed for if I were to choose wrong. As a parent, my choice lies in how I handle it. I have always been very open with my girls on these issues and they know my own personal feelings and also that it is ok for their views to differ from mine. I have always told them that if they got pregnant before being out on their own, that I was not in any position to help them financially (i wasn't and am not)and they'd best be ready to support a child on their own if they had one. I have been so very open with them that I made it clear with them that I didn't have to agree with their choice and they may get a lecture from me but I would take them in for birth control when they felt they were ready. The first 3 came to me when they were 17 and in a long term what they felt was a serious relationship. my oldest did get pregnant before marriage but she is now married to the man and has been for 8 years. She worked it out on her own. I can say all this and it hasn't yet happened to me so I really couldn't say for sure how I'd react. I think strong education on the subject is very important and being open with your kids about this. This is a very good topic and you really have me thinking. I mean that would be my grandchild...i think I would of course feel some obligation there. It would make for a very tough situation but still I know in my heart that I'd never force my daughter to have an abortion no matter how much it compromised my life. I'm all for pro choice but it has to be the mother's choice. I myself had my 14 yr old in a very compromising time of my life. I thought deeply and chose to have her. How could I being who I am, force anyone to make such a choice based on what it may do to MY life when in a few short years...she'll be an adult. She's my daughter...I'm her mom and mom's should support their child either way.