Latina Teen Pregnancy Prevention in Texas

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Updated: Mar 28, 2022
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In the past years we have seen the conversation of teen pregnancies become more openly acknowledged because of fact that we are in more of a liberal atmosphere than before. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that Hispanic women are the most prone to unplanned teen pregnancies in the United States. In Texas specifically, 58% of teen pregnancies are from hispanic girls. With Texas being the fourth highest in teen birth rates in the United States there is clearly an issue that needs to be solved.

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Because Texas is so conservative, it lacks in education for teens about sex and contraceptives. Many people oppose sexual education in schools because they believe it influences teens to engage in sexual activity, rather than preventing them from having sex. Though there are many that see sex education as an advertisement for teen pregnancies it is known that the southern states like, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas have the highest teen birth rate throughout the United States. It could be directly linked to the heavy conservatism of the south, but there are other contributing factors.

The topic of teen pregnancy creates controversy among the people, especially ethically. Contributing factors such as religion, social class, government, education, and their overall environment vary throughout the depending areas. In Texas thirty one out of a thousand children born will be to a teen mother, which is much higher than the national average of twenty out of a thousand. Slightly over 230,000 babies born to women aged fifteen to nineteen in the US out of those 33,144 were born to Texas teens making Texas accountable to 14.41 percent of the countries total teen births making latinas the largest group. Fifty six percent of all teen births in Texas are born to young hispanic girls.

The social setting, lack of accessibility to contraceptives, and lack of education play a huge role in the high numbers. Ninety eight per one thousand latina girls have children and one out of four are repeat births. Out of 229,715 teen births in america 91,415 were to whites and 81,350 were born to hispanics. Seeing the numbers alone is alarming but with the fact that the hispanic population is around ? of the white population the hispanic birth rate is vastly higher shows that this problem begs the question : What kind of environment can we build for hispanic teens for them to be adequately educated and comfortable with the topic of sexual health?

Texas is known to be a very conservative state, making sexual education nearly nonexistent. This can be directly correlated to Texas being fourth in highest teen pregnancies. As revealed by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, from 2007 to 2008, 94% of Texas school districts implemented strict abstinence-only teachings. These teachings also omitted information or discouraged the use of condoms. The strong disencouragement of educating teens about sex comes from the neglect of the subject in general because of its “ taboo” nature. Another leading cause of the increasing teen birth rate is the low availability of free or cheap contraceptives. Because of the forbidding of sexual education many don’t find a reason to be providing teens with contraceptives but if more teens were to be exposed to this information they’d be able to rationally think of the consequences of having unprotected sex.

Planned Parenthood is known to be a very comfortable and welcoming environment for women in need but there are only thirty eight in the state of Texas. There are about 600 other state qualified clinics though. Latina and African-American teens are much more likely to receive inadequate care than white teens seeking help at these clinics. Because of the discrimination it is less likely that these teens will seek help about these topics. These same teens want to push for a teen-only clinic, they say it would make them feel after and more comfortable.

Religion is a huge contributing factor in Texas’ high number of teen pregnancies. Though there are many religions practiced in Texas, the hispanic community, who are responsible for the majority of teen births in Texas, are mainly Roman Catholic. Catholicism is commonly known to be against abortion and premarital sex. As it is looked down upon, teens who naturally have to urge to be sexually active, refrain from seeking help from their parents. Texas also has very strict abortion laws compared to other states. In Texas, you are required to take at least two visits with your doctor. The doctor who performs your sonogram must be the same doctor who performs your abortion. During your sonogram the doctor is required to display the images and make any heartbeat audible. Because of recent regulations in the House Bill 2 in 2013, there has been a dramatic drop in the number of abortion providers in Texas, of course making it even harder to get an abortion.

You do not have to be older than eighteen to get an abortion but if you are younger you must have parental consent of at least one guardian. If you would rather not have your parents know you can go to court for a judicial bypass. The court will decide if you are mature enough to decide for yourself. If they do they give you signed papers to bring to your doctor that allows you permission to perform an abortion. This could lead to teens performing at-home abortions on themselves which is extremely dangerous. Teens that do inform their guardians about their pregnancy are usually not allowed to get an abortion. The abortion rate is extremely low because of this. In 2011 there were six million pregnancies teen pregnancies. Sixty-seven percent of these pregnancies were successful births and eighteen percent ended in abortions, the remaining fifteen percent ended in miscarriage. The correlation between teen births and religion clearly seen in a map sourced by the Center of Disease Control (CDC), as the teen birth rate is noticeably higher in the Bible Belt area. This is again caused by strict abortion laws and the restraint of sexual education.

Though the national teen pregnancy rate is dropping, it is not dropping fast enough. Though many do not think of this problem as an everyday crisis, millions of babies are being born into families that aren’t ready. This leads to a possibility that the child will receive inadequate care and possible abuse. With the mixture of strict laws and little to no form of sexual education in Texas, this problem will not just fix on its own. Latinas in Texas is suffering due to factors that aren’t in their control. We need to make changes for them to better the future of Texas.

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Latina Teen Pregnancy Prevention in Texas. (2019, Sep 24). Retrieved from