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ADOLESCENT ABORTION LEGALIZATION Less then twenty-five years ago any women who elected to terminate her pregnancy usually had to resort to illegal unsanitary and unsafe means Abortion was frequently considered a criminal offense committed by the woman and the physician performing the procedure The Supreme Court cases leading to the legalization of abortion began in 1963 with Griswold v Connecticut The court invalidated a Connecticut statute that made possession and use of contraceptives by married couples a criminal offense The case of Griswold was later expanded to encompass the womans right not only to prevent but also to terminate her pregnancy In the case of Roe v Wade the court held that state regulation of womans access to abortion at all times during her pregnancy is impermissible In finding unconstitutional a Texas statute that did not allow abortion unless it was performed to save the mothers life the Court eliminated most restrictions on an adult womans right to an abortion STATISTICS According to the book abortion data are difficult to collect and national statistics can only be considered estimates The figures included in this paper are primarily based on the data provided by the Alan Guttmacher Institute AGI AGI data are based on national surveys of health institutions and private physicians providing abortion services Today about 40 of the 11 million pregnancies of females under the age of twenty annually are terminated by induced abortions Nearly one-third of all abortions are done on women under the age of twenty Melton 198641 A substantial number and proportion of abortions are obtained by teenagers In 1981 more than 1 in 4 of the estimated 1577340 abortions performed were to teenagers 6 out of 10 to 15-19 year olds were to teenagers 18-19 years of age The chart that I included on the following page lists the number and distribution of legal abortions abortion rates per 1000 women and percentage of pregnancies
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