Pressure from parents is not just a teen problem. Families are in each other’s business—that’s the way it is. So, when I ask people what their parents are going to think about the pregnancy, the rarest answer is “they won’t care; they let me do my own thing.” Parents always have opinions, even if their kids are out of school, living on their own, or married, etc.
Obviously, some women are more sensitive to pressure from parents, depending on her circumstances. Age, education, living arrangements, culture, and religion all play a role. Family pressure can be a direct threat (“If you don’t abort, you’ll be out on the street”), or more like a suggestion (“You’ll never get over placing your child for adoption”).
Even the idea that “they can never find out” is the result of subtle force. These parents conveyed (with or without words) that getting pregnant would be the Worst Thing Ever, so their kids abort in secret. We encourage people to talk with their parents (or a trusted adult) about their decision. A choice this important should be informed by the parents’ actual reaction, not their predicted reaction.
Because abortion is a woman’s choice, no parent can decide the outcome of their daughter’s pregnancy. If your parents are trying to make your decision for you, they may be trying to protect you—but they need to respect your rights. Involve a relative, teacher, counselor, or friend if you need help protecting your right to choose.
*CareNet can help your family find a healthy path through this crisis. Please contact us.
*Check out Telling your Parents for ideas to get the conversation off on the right foot. Or read 5 Things Not to Do When Telling Your Parents for a different perspective.
*Read more about coercion HERE.