Sunday, May 24, 2009

Teenage Abortions

The Daily Mail recently reported that of 40,000 teen age pregnancies in the U.K. last year, 20,000 or 1/2 ended in abortions. They reported the level of acceptance of abortion among British teens by telling of one young woman who had four abortions before she turned 20. This is a breath-taking statistic, because of its reflection upon these young women's view of abortion and child-birth. Whatever we are doing in the process of educating our children and preparing them for responsible adulthood, these statistics should tell us that it isn't working.

By the way, some might ask why we should be concerned about British young people? All Western societies are connected, and the European societies are "ahead" of American society in the influence of secularism and enlightenment thought. The same forces that gave rise to this abortion tragedy in the U.K. are at work here in the United States. In many ways, Europe is the "canary in the coal mine" for us in the U.S.

Speaking of forces that are at work in this process, the Daily Mail quoted Ann Furedi who works for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service. The BPAS was established in 1999 to "reduce teen pregnancy by 1/2 in 10 years." The service provides contraception, sex ed programs, and pregnancy counsel. (They didn't even come close to achieving their goal, teen pregnancy increased in the decade.) Ms. Furedi called the tragedy of 20,000 abortions for British teens, "a positive sign" that these teens don't feel bad about having an abortion.

No society can succeed that does not prepare its young people for adult responsibility. The reduction of teen pregnancy is a proper goal for a modern society, but it must be part of a larger social and educational program of endorsing traditional marriage and the family. One of the tragedies of the modern era, reflected by the comment by Ms. Furedi, is that the family, the one institution that has proven to be most beneficial to the happiness and success of individuals and communities has been denied and denigrated. Thus, we want to reduce teen pregnancy while opposing traditional values. If we believe it is "positive sign" for young women to voluntarily terminate their pregnancies, what are we saying about those young women's view of children and child-raising? Are their babies a gift to be cherished, and loved, or a burden to be avoided? We must ask, seriously, what kind of parents will these girls become?

I couple this with a further statistic that does not bode well for Western civilization. Many young couples on both sides of the Atlantic are foregoing marriage, and simply living together. Secondly, large numbers of both married and unmarried couples are choosing to remain childless. The implications are that marriage and the family could become an anachronism. Some commentators see this as leading to the death of, at least, Western Europe.

In the end, we must affirm that morality and a moral life are essential for a healthy society. We, by denying these moral values, are weakening the very moral and social fabric that holds us together. What is worse is that each of these young women who aborted their babies is a personal tragedy (not to deny the consequences in the lives of the young men involved in these relationsnips). No society can afford to teach their children that marriage, birth, and family are out of date and unimportant. We will be left as a culture with no future, and we will be increasing, not decreasing the personal pain that will mark so many people's experience of relationships and life.