The decision-making on elective abortion in a sample of Portuguese adolescents
ESC Congress Library. Pereira J. May 28, 2014; 50421; A-003
Dr. Joana Pereira
Dr. Joana Pereira
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1.Objectives: About 35% of adolescents who become pregnant in Portugal engaged in elective abortion. However, given the recent legalization of elective abortion in Portugal, national research on the decision-making for engaging in elective abortion is scarce, namely regarding adolescents. Therefore, this study aimed to characterize the decision-making on elective abortion among a national sample of adolescents. Specifically, we were interested to explore the adolescents’ autonomy in decision-making, the contribution and/or pressure of significant others, and the most important reasons involved in the decision to terminate a pregnancy.

2.Methods: The sample consisted of 175 adolescents aged 14-19 years who engaged in elective abortion. Data were collected through self-report measures, between 2011 and 2013, in 23 healthcare services.

3.Results: Most of the adolescents did not plan pregnancy (99.4%). Significant others were involved in adolescents’ decisions in 64.6% of the cases (mother: 36.3%; parents and other family: 20.4%; parents: 16.8%; parents and siblings: 7.1%). When significant others were not involved, the main reasons for that were: “my parents would be disappointed”, “shame”, and “they did not need to know”. Most of the adolescents did not feel pressure to terminate (83.4%) or to continue the pregnancy (81.1%). The final decision to terminate the pregnancy was made by the adolescent and her partner (59.4%), the adolescent (28.6%), other family members (9.7%), her partner (1.1%) or other persons (1.1%); the most frequent reasons for abortion were: “Education or job would be more difficult to continue” (57.7%), “Too young to have a child” (56.6%), “Cannot fulfill the task of being a mother” (45.7%), “A child should be wished for, this one is not” (41.7%) and “economic reasons” (38.9%).


4.Conclusion: Our findings provide specific knowledge about the decision-making for termination of pregnancy in Portuguese adolescents. Our results suggested the influence of several variables related to developmental characteristics and to the involvement of significant others on the decision-making. Thus, they may allow health care providers to establish specialized and developmentally appropriate practices to efficiently support adolescents during their reproductive decision-making.

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