Beyond the discourse of reproductive choice: narratives of pregnancy resolution among Latina/o teenage parents

Cult Health Sex. 2015;17(9):1090-104. doi: 10.1080/13691058.2015.1038853. Epub 2015 May 8.


Despite the fact that the US teenage birth rate has declined dramatically in recent years, teen births among Latinas are higher than any other racial/ethnic group. Most studies focus on the causes and consequences of early motherhood among Latina teenagers, neglecting other important dimensions of the issue. This study examines how Latina/o teenage parents living in California narrate their experiences with unintended pregnancy resolution. Qualitative analysis reveals three central themes. First, participants expressed shock upon learning they or their partner was pregnant, followed by acceptance about their impending parenthood. Second, participants' views of abortion and adoption largely foreclosed these options as pathways by which to resolve their unintended pregnancies. Third, participants recounted numerous stories of the messages they received from parents, other family members and male partners that were frequently directive regarding how to resolve their pregnancies. These findings have implications for young people's reproductive health and rights, and for reproductive justice more broadly.

Keywords: Latino; USA; pregnancy resolution; teenage pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Induced* / statistics & numerical data
  • Adolescent
  • Adoption / ethnology*
  • California
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Narration
  • Parents / psychology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy in Adolescence / ethnology*
  • Pregnancy, Unplanned / ethnology
  • Qualitative Research