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Stephanie C. was only looking for a pair of her daughter's pants when she opened the closet door. Imagine her surprise at finding a tiny newborn baby nestled in a blanket. "I screamed in surprise," she later told reporters.

"I called 911. They said, 'Whose baby is it?' I said, 'I have no idea.'" It turned out that the baby was her grandson, Navorn. Her 17-year-old daughter, Shanta, had concealed her pregnancy and secretly given birth to her baby boy in her home on September 21, 1997. She had hidden the baby in her bedroom closet whenever she left for school. It was 17 days after the birth before the startled grandmother first met her grandson.

After being charged with neglect, Shanta was given custody of Navorn on the condition that she move into a home for young mothers. The 16-year-old father of the child came forward seeking to establish paternity and to strengthen his relationship with Shanta, which he described as previously an "on again, off again" romance.

The media spin on the birth of the "closet baby" Navorn suggested that teenagers can be unaware of their pregnancies for long periods and may engage in denial of reality until it is "too late." Teenage "denial" is often blamed for late-term abortions. The argument goes that teenagers have trouble confronting the reality of their problem and so fail to seek an earlier, "safer" abortion. Because of this "denial" problem, pro-abortionists argue, we must keep late term abortions available for these "messed up" kids.

Personally, I've never bought this argument. Certainly it is not uncommon for teenage mothers to go through short periods of denial about a pregnancy, desperately hoping that "my period is just late."

But of the thousands of testimonies I have collected, in every case where a teenager had a late term abortion, not one stated that she didn't realize or couldn't accept that she was pregnant. Instead, they have all indicated that they deliberately concealed their pregnancies in the hope that by the time their parents discovered the truth, it would be "too late" to have an abortion.

Unfortunately, these young women discovered, it is never "too late" to get an abortion in America. Their abortions were either forced or consented to under duress. From this viewpoint, late-term teenage abortions are not due to teenage denial, but rather to parental abuse. 

Pro-Abortion Parents

A few years ago, I was a guest on a call-in radio program. A woman called in to declare her self to be on the side of "choice" despite abortion's risks. I asked: "Well, if you are pro-choice, then certainly you would agree that we should have laws to protect young women from being forced into unwanted abortions." Without hesitation, the caller confirmed my point, saying, "I've told my daughter that if she ever gets pregnant, she will have an abortion. I've done my duty raising her. I'm not going to raise her kids, too." This woman was pro-choice for everyone except her daughter. For her daughter, there was only one choice: abortion.

Sadly, many young people grow up with the same understanding of what their parents' demands will be if they ever become pregnant. What are they to do? 

Some, like Shanta, will try to conceal the pregnancy all the way through to birth. On a trip to California I spent a night with a family who had a ten- or twelve-year-old adopted daughter. The girl's teenage birth-mother had successfully concealed everything from her parents. She hid her pregnancy, arranged for the adoption, selected the adoptive parents, and gave birth at a hospital (returning home the same day), all without her parents ever catching on to the truth. Indeed, there was still some communication between the biological mother and the adoptive parents, and the adoptive parents believed that the biological grandparents still, to that day, did not know of their granddaughter's birth. 

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This article was originally published in The Post-Abortion Review, Vol. 6 (1), Spring 1998.
[Elliot Institute News, vol.5, no.5, David C. Reardon, Ph.D., 15July06]
This article was originally published in The Post-Abortion Review, Vol. 6 (1), Spring 1998.
[Elliot Institute News, vol.5, no.5, David C. Reardon, Ph.D., 15July06]