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The hardest decision to make

March 23, 2009
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What do You Think?

preg-1

When most teenage girls are busy solving beauty problems, a small group of them are making a life-or-death decision that no parents would want their youngsters to have to face – whether to keep a baby or not.

Teenage pregnancy is a reality in Hong Kong, but, due to conservative Chinese moral values, the problem has never been as serious as in the western world.

Government figures show that in 2007, 326 girls under 18 – and averaging 16 years of age – underwent legal termination of pregnancy, while 137 infants were born to unwed underage mothers, also of an average age of 16.

The Family Planning Association of Hong Kong (FPAHK) receives a steady average of 2,500 help requests for premarital pregnancies every year. Among them, mothers aged from 16 to 18 make up 20 per cent, while around 2 or 3 per cent come from mothers who are under 16, with the youngest being 13.

Some people are blaming increased teenage pregnancies on movies such as Hollywood hit Juno and local production 2 Young, which features starlets popular among teens.

It is undeniable that the media plays a significant role in shaping the social script for teenagers, says Grace Lee Ming-ying, education officer in charge at the FPAHK. “Parents should seize the chance to explain and instil correct moral values in children.”

(Abridged version. Full article, written by Sunny Tse, appeared in YoungPost on March 23rd 2009)

Give us Your Views in the box below…

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. Calvin permalink
    July 21, 2009 8:03 pm

    Abortion

    It is a very hard decision to make for anyone, not to say the teenager mother and their family members.

    Making such a decision is not only about emotion, but also a matter of science. Let’s look at both sides before making any decision.

    Abortion does harm to the placenta. The abortion, if conducted several times, will disable the fetilized eggs to implant itself to the womb. That’s another way to cause infertilization on the female side.

    Abortion may create permanent psycholgical pressure on the young girl. Remember it is almost equal to carry out legalized murder of the fetus. Will the young mother forget this fact in the remaining of her life?

    Despite of some downsides suggested as above, some bright sides are there.

    Upbringing a young child for teenager is very very difficult. In Hong Kong, the reproduction rate has been reducing over a decade. Why? the economic pressure has been rather heavy. It is impossible for the teenager to provide extra housing and meals for themselves, not to say their young babies. I cannot imagine how an adolescent at her thirteen to seventeen can support the young baby.

    The career of parents are sacrificed. If the parents are devoted to upbringing of baby, how can they spend time on learning and working? caring a baby to his eighteen ages take the parents at least 18 years. It is impossible nowadays for a couple of young parents to spend their 18 golden years raising a baby. Their working and learning life must be at loss to a a very large extent.

    Western or Chinese culture cannot tolerate premature pregnancy, not to say abortion. Buddhists and Catholics cannot accept such crazy act of killing the human life at its earliest stage of development.

    Let’s make a brief conclusion.

    I am quite sad to see that some youngsters have lost their mind and had their sex intercourse so carelessly. Raising a child is such a difficult job. Either killing a foetus or preserving its life creates many problems. Standing on any side is a difficult decision. Hope you make better judgment after checking my analysis.

  2. April 14, 2009 11:10 pm

    At the risk of sounding immoral, I wish to disagree with ALI’s view that teenage couples expressing their love in public is embarrassing, indecent and inconvenient. All public displays of affection do not necessarily mean that the teenagers involved are (sexually) irresponsible. Putting cynicism aside, strong, trusting and loving relationships can burgeon amongst teenagers (without the premise of sex), though said relationships may not last forever.

    Love is undefinable, and for some people, unconstrainable by strict societal beliefs and prejudices. The frivolity and unwitting nature of young love only makes teenagers want to break free from the straitjacket of values imposed on them by people who wish to judge and point fingers in the name of morality.

    However, mistakes can arise from careless sexual encounters. Condoms break, daily pills are missed. Whether people practice abstinence is their own business, and chastising them after the deed is done leads to nothing. The ultimate question here is what kind of legislation would realistically encourage abstinence? So far, there is none I can think of.

    Therefore, pregnant teenage girls need all the help they can get, including proper and sobering education about how not to let such a thing happen again before they are financially, romantically and personally stable. Abortion, adoption or keeping the baby must all be presented as viable options given the circumstances.

    A girl can always have an education even after having a baby. That is what daycare centres are for. In some universities and workplaces, creches are present for single mothers who may not be able to take care of the baby 24/7 because they are focusing on their own development to better the baby’s future.

    If society is going to point fingers and accuse, how is a young girl supposed to deal with pregnancy/raising a child on her own? Mother’s Choice is doing a great thing and I applaud them for offering a helping hand to all the girls who may not have the support of the people they need it from most of all – their family and friends.

  3. April 12, 2009 12:25 am

    If you are brave enough to be under 18 and bear a child in such an discouraging society, I think you are probably mature and emotionally strong enough to raise a child. This negative view is not restricted to those of the generation above us, but among peers of these teenage mothers. To have the integrity and compassion to go through with a pregnancy in such a disapproving environment really shows one’s courage and strength, and this should not be overlooked. What do you think about this?

  4. PYC permalink
    April 2, 2009 7:16 pm

    i truly agree with what Chung Siu Han Denise has said.
    It is not a time for girls whose age under 18 to take care a baby.How can a teenage with low education level be able earn a living?And a baby without growing up in a good environment usually dies quickly.Therefore,I think that government or any organization should not encourage those young mothers to give birth to their babies.

  5. ALI permalink
    April 1, 2009 11:36 pm

    There is a conspicuous decrease in moral standard in Hong Kong. You may now see teenage couples hugging and kissing everywhere. It has not only made the couples themselves look indecent, but also bring inconvenience to public. SO EMBARRASSING!
    There should be more education for teenagers to teach them how to manage there love affairs and their attitude towards sex.

  6. Chung Siu Han Denise permalink
    March 28, 2009 7:09 pm

    The 14-year-old mother puzzled me a lot. I think I am a perfectly traditional Chinese. It’s difficult to accept premarital pregnancy or having baby before 18 years old.

    In fact, the mother does not have enough ability to take care of the baby. The mother has to sacrifice her academy, leisure time, or even the health.

    She is not mature enough to teach a baby and this can bring a lot of troubles to the mother’s mother. Many parents think this is insulting their family fame. The parent may feel annoyed to have an unexpected baby brought by her daughter.

    However, I think it’s brave to say that she will give the birth of a baby, her boyfriend was not responsible that let the 14-year-old girl face the consequences alone. I hope the Mother’s Choice can help her.

    Netizens always blamed the girl, saying she is stupid or immature. Nevertheless, they are one of the person in the society. How come they don’t do something more meaningful but just blaming the girl? We should raise up the attention to the problem of premarital pregnancy, the next generation will have a more correct value towards pregnancy.

  7. Elaine permalink
    March 26, 2009 5:29 pm

    I think the teenage girls have baby is very bad. Why they don’t do the good things?I think the teenage girls have baby is not good!

  8. Marco permalink
    March 23, 2009 11:53 pm

    i think the problem is more and more serious. it is not only HK but also all over the world. maybe it is because the pressure of the youngsters is higher and higher. perhaps the pressure cause of the study , expectation of family and so on. however, it is not the suitable way to react. as a youngster, we should learn to do the things suitable. it is our responsibility to take care.

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