Aneta Karkut English 102 Instructor Pols 6 March 2013 Paper #3 How to Stop the Rise of Teenage Pregnancy I turn on my television and an MTV show is on. I spend a little time watching it, though I’m not sure what I am watching. There are girls that look my age, and I see they have children. They are arguing with their boyfriends and their parents, but most look happy overall. A commercial comes on it tells me “16 and Pregnant” will be right back. Curious about the name and the concept of this TV show, and why it even was a TV show with that name, I turned to my good friend Google.
Off the Wikipedia blurb I discovered, “16 and Pregnant is an MTV reality television series produced by Morgan J. Freeman and Dia Sokol Savage... It follows the stories of pregnant teenage girls in high school dealing with the hardships of teenage pregnancy” (“16 and Pregnant”). My dad walked by and asks what the show is about, I explain; he walked away shaking his head. This was heartbreaking to him. In his years, pregnancy at such a young age was unheard of and the thought of being unmarried? Forget it!
It was not acceptable. For my generation? My graduating class had 9 pregnant senior girls, and those were just the ones we knew of. Statistically speaking, it could have been higher. The Center for Disease Disease Control and Prevention says, “More than 360,000 teen girls give birth each year in the United States. One half of teen mothers do not finish high school. ” Peggy Peck, a journalist for ABC Health News found that, “In 2006, there were 42 births per 1,000 U. S. teenage girls, which was 4 percent higher than 2005. It has been reported that, “the United States continues to have the highest rates of teenage pregnancy and birth among developed countries” (Minnick 1). So why is that? Why as one of the leading countries with some of the best, health care, medications, and doctors are we struggling to reduce pregnancy among adolescents? The CDC recommends 3 solutions to this ongoing problem: * Include evidence-based sex education that provides accurate information and supports the needs of teens throughout their development. Include efforts to help parents and teens communicate effectively with each other. * Ensure sexually active teens have access to effective and affordable contraceptives. It is to be believed that these methods will help solve this ongoing epidemic among adolescents. As a country we can sit back and do nothing, but that would not be a good solution. We need to step up and help these children who will be the leaders of our nation tomorrow. After all, “Becoming parents while still adolescents can have numerous long term negative consequences... hich include health impacts for both the mother and the baby along with other social, emotional, and economic detriments” so let us do everything we can as a nation to stop this (Elders 1). In 2009, “President Barack Obama signed an appropriations bill that ended funding for existing abstinence-only-until-marriage programs and put new teenage pregnancy prevention initiative in the newly funded Office of Adolescent Health within the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services” (Krisberg 1). We have already put in the start to help fix the pregnancy problem but we need to continue to apply it. Abstinence works for some teens, but the idea that most teens will wait to have sex indefinitely is rigid and impractical" said Dr. Richard S. Guido, chair of ACOG's Committee on Adolescent Health Care in an interview with Peck. And this statement is rather true. In high school, there is so much pressure, especially among boys to “lose it” even if it is just in a one night stand. When all children were being taught in school was that sex was bad and you must wait, the talk of the benefit of condoms and other contraceptive methods was looked down upon.
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It made the children feel as if they were doing something wrong getting protection so it was easier to just do it without one. By changing the way schools teach sex education, now they are able to talk about the complications that come with sex such as possible disease, STD’s, and of course the consequence of pregnancy. When people are given the straight up facts, it makes it easier to understand why someone should choose to wait and come up with this solution on their own as opposed to just don’t do it without a concrete reason.
Sex education classes have opened doors for teenagers in explaining topics and and answering questions that some feel they cannot approach their parents about. Although it is an uncomfortable subject for some teachers to teach, and some students to listen to, the uncomfortableness does not weigh out the benefit of these programs. Some have not agreed that this is a good idea and recently, “U. S. Senate, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, successfully included an amendment to restore $50 million a year in abstinence-only state funds” (“Teen Pregnancies”).
Premarital sex goes against the morals of those who follow religion very closely and they are especially active to shut down the current school sex curriculum, but shouldn’t self values go after practicality in this case? How else would most adolescents get the correct information to have safe sex? I know I don’t talk to my parents, so I can speak for myself of the benefits of the program, and realistically speaking, in this day and age where the music, the celebrities, and the media are glamorizing sex, you can’t escape it. We need to do more to keep safe sex programs in school, and abstinence only programs out.
Another source to help decrease the rise of teenage pregnancy is the power of parents themselves. The Mayo Clinic says, “Awkward as it may be, sex education is a parent's responsibility. By reinforcing and supplementing what your teen learns in school, you can set the stage for a lifetime of healthy sexuality,” and that is so true. It is an uncomfortable subject, but a very important one. By building a healthy relationship with each other, teenagers build a trust and feel that they have a support system to answer their questions and help if anything goes wrong.
Also by talking more openly, it is easier to get the methods that prevent pregnancy such as birth control when daughters don’t have to go behind the backs of their parents to see a doctor. Values are established and just having someone you can talk to and you know will help you can make the whole transition from adolescence to adulthood a lot easier. My grandma always gave me warnings and told me stories of things she read in the news, and when I started dating she taught me about date rape drugs and pedophiles.
Although those were topics covered in school, her being further explain them to me made the world of differences and changed some of the choices I would have made and some of the people I associated myself with. When a teenagers has a pregnancy scare or actually does become pregnant, their parents are one of the hardest people to break the news to, but they are also some of the people who have the most answers, after all they were once pregnant with you. They can help you make the decision what to do with the baby whether it be adoption, abortion, or keeping the child and can provide the right care and support in this difficult time.
Teens will very rarely come to parents to about this topic so it is so very important for the adult to initiate conversation, after all one day it may prevent your child’s pregnancy. “Traditional contraceptive methods such as birth control pills, which require consistent daily use, or condoms, which require a certain level of preparedness by having one available when needed, can pose challenges for many adolescents. Works Cited "16 and Pregnant. " Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 03 Feb. 2013. Web. 05 Mar. 2013. Krisberg, Kim. Teen Pregnancy Prevention Focusing On Evidence. (Cover Story). " Nation's Health 40. 3 (2010): 1-14. Academic Search Complete. Web. 6 Mar. 2013. Elders, M. Joycelyn. "Coming to Grips With the US Adolescent Birth Rate. " American Journal of Public Health Dec. 2012: 2205+. Academic Search Complete. Web. 6 Mar. 2013. Mayo Clinic. "Sex Education: Talking to Your Teen about Sex. " Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 18 Nov. 2011. Web. 0 Mar. 2013. Minnick, Dorlisa, J. , and Lauren Shandler. Changing Adolescent Perceptions On Teenage Pregnancy. " Children & Schools 33. 4 (2011): 241-248. CINAHL Plus with Full Text. Web. 6 Mar. 2013. Peck, Peggy. "Teen Pregnancies On the Rise Again. " ABC News. ABC News Network, 27 Jan. 2010. Web. 05 Mar. 2013. "Reducing Teen Pregnancy: Engaging Communities. " Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 05 July 2012. Web. 05 Mar. 2013. "Teen Pregnancies, Dangers on the Rise. " The Sacramento Observer. N. p. , 11 June 2011. Web. 06 Mar. 2013.
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