The use of ineffective methods for protection against adolescent pregnancy leads to an increasing number of undesired pregnancies in many countries so that abortion still remains at high figures and is presented as a method of contraception.
In some countries the procedure takes place ‘secretly’ since the method is still illegal. This is the reason why most abortions are unsafe or present a high rate of complications, mainly pelvic infections. Among the 1 million teenagers who became pregnant in the USA, about 40% have chosen termination of pregnancy. The Netherlands present the lowest adolescent pregnancy rate in the world. This is probably due to the general attitude of the population and healthcare professionals towards sexuality and contraception.
In most European countries termination of undesired pregnancy is legal in girls older than 16 or 18 years of age and if gestation is less than 12 weeks.
Parental consent as well as a psychosocial and medical consultation are necessary for younger individuals. For the termination of pregnancy, most countries use the surgical method. There are no reports on the use of Mifepristone in a significant number of individuals during adolescence.
However, the use of the medical methods for termination of undesired pregnancy during adolescence may prove to be a useful method in the future.
Revision date: July 8, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD