Should I get an abortion?

Approximately six million pregnancies occur every year in the United States, and over half of those are unintended, but more than one million, or approximately 1 out of every 5, are terminated through an abortion (Planned Parenthood Federation of America, 2006). According to these statistics many women have considered or received an abortion in their lifetime, and yet this medical procedure has caused endless controversy in the public domain.  Never has their been such a spot light on a private medical procedure, but because abortion ends a woman’s pregnancy, many groups, religious or not, have spoken out against the practice.

For most women, choosing how to react to an unplanned pregnancy is an emotionally draining experience, whether she receives an abortion or not.  Worries of being an unfit mother or leaving work to take care of a new life are common issues that women must face when deciding which course to take with their pregnancy. Most often women look to their family, religion, or partner for support and advice when weighing the options she has.  Receiving input from friends and family can help a woman feel at ease with her decision, but they must understand that ultimately it is the woman's decision to terminate her pregnancy, keep the baby, or opt for adoption after the baby is born.  Always keep in mind that what may have worked for one of your friends/family members may not be your best option.

If a woman is not ready to care for another person, does not have the resources, has a health problem, or her family does not want her to have the child, then the woman may choose to have an abortion. Most abortions take place in the first trimester of a pregnancy where the procedure is faster, safer, and easier for a doctor to perform.  Usually a series of pills is taken under the guidance of a doctor and the woman returns to her normal routine within a day or two.  Surgical abortions are still considered a safe medical procedure, but may take a few days to recover from.  Late term abortions are now considered illegal under federal law, but were performed on women past their 14th week of pregnancy.

If you decide to have an abortion, the National Abortion Federation has brochures to inform you about the process. "Having an Abortion? Your Guide to Good Care," "The Truth about Abortion," and "Arriving at the Clinic" are all available through www.prochoice.org. With an abortion comes the right to safe, high quality, caring, and complete medical information and assistance. If you are having problems finding a reputable clinic, call one of the toll free numbers recommended in the Important Numbers and Links section.

Below are some of the main reasons why a woman may voluntarily terminate her pregnancy. Whether or not they are "valid" reasons to obtain an abortion is subject to individual opinions and feelings.

  • My parents will kill me if they know I am pregnant.

  • I cannot take maternity leave from my job.

  • I am too young and cannot afford to have a baby.

  • I don't want anyone to know I have had sex.

  • My partner will leave me.

  • I am not ready to be a mother.

  • My husband/boyfriend does not feel ready to be a father.

  • I was raped.

  • I don't want to be a single parent.

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I sometimes feel as if I am not attractive enough to have sex. What can I do to increase my sex appeal?

The best way to increase your sex appeal is by improving your own body image. When you feel good about yourself, things like sexual appeal and feeling “good enough” for a partner will follow. Here are a few tips to help you improve your body image:

 

•   Don't measure your self-worth by your physical appearance. Your self-esteem should come from more important aspects of yourself, such as your creativity, determination, values, intelligence and so on. Consider doing activities that make you feel good about yourself, like joining a fun fitness class, picking up a hobby, or volunteering.

•   Accept compliments. Do not dismiss a compliment as someone just trying to be nice. Instead, try to savor the compliment and allow yourself the satisfaction of knowing you deserve admiration. If you believe and accept the compliments people are giving you, you’ll start to feel better about yourself, and feel good enough for romantic partners.

•   Understand that magazines, popular television shows, and movies primarily show unrealistic (oftentimes completely fake) depictions of men and women. If you consciously recognize that these are idealized images, your subconscious will avoid picking up the message, 'this is what I should look like.'

•   Avoid focusing on your perceived flaws.  Make a list of all the things you love about your body and have a close friend to make a similar list about you. You may find some of the things you believed were flaws are cherished and admired by others.

•   Stop "fat talk" and self-deprecation. This is when a person says a self-destructive thought out loud in the hopes that someone will contradict them. If this is something you regularly engage in, after a while you will begin to perceive your own hurtful comments as true.

•   Start a moderate exercise routine and good diet. This will make you feel healthy and increase your self-esteem. Do not exercise or diet only for the purpose of weight loss, you may just get discouraged and quit. Also, do not exercise too much. One hour of exercise each day should provide a healthy workout. Avoid use of diet or muscle-building pills, weight loss herbs/foods and steroids. Steroids are dangerous to the body, and may lead to dependency, acne, gynecomastia (enlarged breasts), baldness, aggression (commonly known as “‘roid rage”), high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and jaundice.

 

Hopefully these tips will help you improve your own body image. If you are interested in improving your own sex appeal because you feel others are not interested in you, it is important to first feel good about yourself, because you are deserving of a caring and respectful partner in your life. Your body is a beautiful, wonderful thing just the way it is, and you deserve to feel good about it.

 
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