chapter  29
Interrupted pregnancies: abortions
ByJoan Raphael-Leff
Pages 13

Abortion may be sought on any number of grounds which are consciously felt by the woman and/or her mate to outweigh desire to keep pregnancy. Thus circumstances of each pregnancy differ according to the woman's life-experience, emotional support, age, parity, physical and mental health, conscious and unconscious motivation for conception and termination. An abortion not only interrupts the pregnancy by getting rid of a fetus, it interrupts a psychological process, and in so doing constitutes a trauma, whatever the reality of the social situation. What is interrupted by choosing abortion is fulfilment of an old wish to have a child. The pregnant teenager is often also single, although conception may also occur within an adolescent marriage or a stable young relationship. Approximately one-third of abortions performed annually in United States are obtained by teenagers. As in older couples, pregnancy among teenagers may also reflect the irrational hope of reinforcing a faltering relationship or an unconscious playing out of oedipal fantasies.