Pregnancy Options and Support: Abortion, Adoption, or Parenting

Seek Out Unbiased Pregnancy Support

Pregnancy Options
Stockbyte/GettyImages. Pregnancy Options and Support

Are you facing an unplanned pregnancy? Deciding what to do may feel overwhelming. You are probably feeling all types of mixed emotions. The first thing you should know is that you have options, and there is pregnancy support out there for you.

Pregnancy Options:

You basically have three pregnancy options to choose between:

Making this decision requires a lot of thinking and self-examination on your part. The right choice is the one that works best for you and is one that you feel comfortable with. When thinking about your pregnancy options, try to look at each of these choices honestly.

Seek Out Unbiased Pregnancy Support:

You do not have to make this decision by yourself. Even though the decision is ultimately up to YOU (and only you), it may be helpful to talk about your feelings. You can seek out pregnancy support from your partner, a friend, a family member, or an unbiased counselor. Keep in mind — this is a very personal decision, so do not allow other people to pressure you into a choice that you may regret later.

Pregnancy Option Checklists

Pregnancy Options Checklists
Pregnancy Options Checklists. Antonio/Getty Images

The following checklists may help you gain some clarity. Think about your different pregnancy options: being a parent, choosing adoption, or deciding to have an abortion. You can then use these checklists as way to understand your thinking. To decide the best pregnancy option for you, it helps to have realistic expectations about what you may be facing.

Remember, there are no right or wrong answers to these pregnancy option checklists. When you are finished completing them, read over your answers. Think about what they mean to you. See if you notice any patterns in your answers — this may begin to help guide you in your decision-making process.

Choosing to Become a Parent

Choosing Parenthood
Choosing Parenthood. Ariel Skelley/Getty Images

One of your pregnancy options is to continue your pregnancy and raise a child. Part of being a parent is providing a nurturing environment for your child. It is a parent's job to help teach and guide your child. Raising a child can also be expensive -- diapers, clothing, food, shelter, child care, and education. The more you understand about the responsibilities of parenthood, the more prepared you'll be. If you are leaning in this direction, you will also need to consider whether you will be parenting with a partner, or if you'll be a single parent.

Co-Parenting Checklist

If your plan is to co-parent with your partner, then ask yourself if the following statements would apply to your situation:
Yes No Unsure
()   ()   ()     1. We're both financially ready for parenthood.

()   ()   ()     2. We're both emotionally ready to be parents.

()   ()   ()     3. We'd be together even if I was not pregnant.

()   ()   ()     4. I know what to expect of my partner.

()   ()   ()     5. My partner knows what to expect of me.

()   ()   ()     6. If I start a family now, I will still be able to get what I want in life.

()   ()   ()     7. Our parents are pushing us into marriage.

()   ()   ()     8. My partner agrees that he will share responsibility for child care and housework.

()   ()   ()     9. We have difficulty discussing having a long-term, committed relationship.

()   ()   ()     10. Getting married will make us feel less guilty about sex and being pregnant.

()   ()   ()     11. I am prepared to be a single parent if things don't work out between us.

()   ()   ()     12. We realize the costs associated with parenthood and will be able to afford a       having a child.

Deciding to Be a Single Parent

Pregnancy Options
Being a Single Parent. Tim Hale/Getty Images

Being a single parent can be a very demanding job — but parenthood is also filled with many joys. Single parenting can be challenging, even if you have help from your family and friends. It may also be hard to balance the tasks of providing for your child economically (earning a living) as well emotionally (being there to care of your child). Also, as a single parent, you mat need to sacrifice some of your own needs and freedom. 

Single Parenting Checklist

If you are thinking that you will most likely be parenting alone (as a single mother), ask yourself if the following would apply to your life:
Yes No Unsure
()   ()   ()     1. My baby will give me all the love I need.

()   ()   ()     2. I will end up being more dependent on other people.

()   ()   ()     3. I am okay with having to rely on others for help and assistance.

()   ()   ()     4. I realize the costs associated with parenthood and will be able to afford having a child.

()   ()   ()     5. I have family and friends who will be supportive.

()   ()   ()     6. I am willing (and OK with) putting school and my career on hold.

()   ()   ()     7. Having another child will only strengthen my family.

()   ()   ()     8. I have somebody who will always be available to help -- someone I can trust to take care of the baby when I'm at work, school, or sick.

()   ()   ()     9. I realize (and am OK with the notion) that being a single mother may make it difficult for me to find a future life partner.

()   ()   ()     10. I am prepared to put my child's need above all others (including my own).

()   ()   ()     11. I feel that I am being pressured to keep the baby.

Choosing Adoption

Choosing Adoption
Choosing Adoption. Getty Images

Adoption is the legal act of permanently placing your baby with another set of parents. An adoption can be arranged through relatives, an adoption agency, or independently. Adoption laws are different in each state — so you may want to see if there is a time frame that you can still change your mind, and what the birth father's rights are. Many women who choose adoption feel satisfied with this choice. But some women do say that their sense of loss is stronger than what they had expected.

Adoption Checklist

If you are leaning towards adoption, ask yourself if the following would apply:
Yes No Unsure
()   ()   ()     1. Nobody is pressuring me to choose adoption.

()   ()   ()     I believe that my child will have a better life this way.

()   ()   ()     3. I respect women who choose adoption.

()   ()   ()     4. I can accept and be alright with not being my child's parent.

()   ()   ()     5. I don't think that I can fulfill a child's needs right now.

()   ()   ()     6. I don't believe I can be an effective/attentive parent at this time.

()   ()   ()     7. I will be able to handle the feelings of loss that I may experience.

()   ()   ()     8. The child's birth father will approve of the adoption.

()   ()   ()     9. I am selecting adoption because abortion scares me.

()   ()   ()     10. I have people in my life who will support me, through my pregnancy and the adoption process.

()   ()   ()     11. I am choosing adoption because I don't believe in abortion.

()   ()   ()     12. Adoption seems to be what I should do but not what I want to do.

Deciding to Seek an Abortion

Choosing Abortion
Choosing Abortion. Keith Brofsky/Getty Images

An abortion is a procedure that ends a pregnancy. It is safe and legal. If you are seven (or less) weeks pregnant, you can have a medical abortion (so all you need to do is take medicine). Some women say that an early abortion feels like menstrual cramps -- other women feel more discomfort. Other early abortion options (like the manual aspiration procedure or machine aspiration procedure) do not require any surgery.

For teens, you may need to find out:

  • How your state defines a minor.
  • Whether parental consent or notification is required (even though it is probably a wise idea to discuss your situation with them, if you can).
  • If you can you talk to a judge -- who can decide to waive parental consent law.

Abortion Checklist

If you are considering having an abortion, ask yourself the following:
Yes No Unsure
()   ()   ()     1. I can afford to pay for an abortion.

()   ()   ()     2. I want to be a parent, just not now.

()   ()   ()     3. I want this pregnancy to go away, so I'm willing to have an abortion to end it.

()   ()   ()     4. No one is pressuring me to obtain an abortion.

()   ()   ()     5. Abortion goes against my religious beliefs.

()   ()   ()     6. I can afford to have a child right now.

()   ()   ()     7. I will be able to handle the feelings associated with having an abortion.

()   ()   ()     8. (For minors) If I have to, I am prepared to go before a judge to get permission for an abortion.

()   ()   ()     9. I don't respect women who have abortions.

()   ()   ()     10. I have people in my life who will support me in this decision.

()   ()   ()     11. If I have an abortion, I cannot tell my family and/or partner.

The Importance of Neutral Pregnancy Support

Pregnancy Options
Pregnancy Options and Support. Janie Airey/Getty Images

Unbiased Support and Pregnancy Options Information:

You may find it to be helpful to find a neutral person to help support you during this confusing time. You can turn to a counselor or health educator at a family planning clinic. These clinics have specially trained staff who can honestly and objectively discuss your pregnancy options with you. You can even print out your answers to these pregnancy checklists, and discuss them with a counselor — or anybody else that you feel comfortable talking to.

Beware of Crisis Pregnancy Centers:

If you decide to seek outside support, be careful when choosing a family planning center. Many crisis pregnancy centers will try to get you to come in by offering you a free pregnancy test. These pregnancy resource centers are set up to appear like they will be supportive and give you information about abortion, adoption, and parenting options. Unfortunately, many crisis pregnancy centers have an anti-abortion agenda are known for being deceptive and misleading. When determining which clinic to go to for pregnancy support, make sure that the center:

  • Does not pressure you into any decisions.
  • Provides accurate, complete, and reliable information about ALL of your pregnancy options.
  • Allows you to decide who can be a part of this decision-making process.
  • Does not object if you try to bring your partner, friend, or family member(s) with you.

If you are unsure as to where to go, try calling your local Planned Parenthood facility. You can either speak to one of their educators, or they can help refer you to family planning centers that will be helpful and provide accurate information.


Checklists adapted from Planned Parenthood, Pregnancy Options Training.