The Life of a Teenager: Teenage Pregnancy
“Although teenage pregnancies and birthrates in the United States have been declining steadily since 1990, the nation still leads the developed world in these challenging statistics.” According to Jane E. Brody in the article Contraception for Teenagers. Teenage pregnancy has been has been a problem over the years for a while now. Though it is the teen who becomes pregnant it is not all of their fault. Teenagers nowadays are not provided with the right information they need to know and not giving them the information does not make them not engage in sexual intercourse. According to Andrea Barrica in How to Make Sex More Dangerous she states “Fewer students now receive comprehensive sex ed in our country than at any time in the past 20 years.” With fewer students receiving comprehensive sex ed and abstinence only programs being pushed there is no help for the teenagers who still participate in sexual intercourse.
Teenage pregnancy may be a huge social issue but we need to provide these teenagers with the information they need and the resources that provide them with condoms and contraceptives, etc. Having a child is a blessing but having a child at a young age is challenging and it may cause you to hold back on school and your social life. Although teenage pregnancy rate is declining there are some not so lucky teenagers. To help with this we all should try coming together as a community and educating the teens about what they need to know, having more programs within the school system that not only teach abstinence but comprehensive sex education as well, and finding ways to improve the programs that are already out there. As stated by The Editorial Board in The New Era of Abstinence “Public health experts strongly recommend a comprehensive approach to sex education, one that informs young people about abstinence as well as about various forms of contraception and other aspects of sexual health.”
How it works
Teenage pregnancy is young adolescents who engage in sexual activities and become intentionally or unintentionally pregnant. Pregnancy at a young age can be caused by many things such as not having enough knowledge about such things, peer pressure, lack of communication with parents, poor supervision, and broken homes, etc. These causes go unnoticed by adults which results in their children going out and doing something they don’t have much knowledge on. Jane Brody states in Contraception for Teenagers that “Talking with adults about sex is often embarrassing for teenagers and challenging for their parents, who may leave it up to teachers and doctors to provide the necessary details.” Parents should make their child feel comfortable enough to be able to talk to them about anything and with their child being comfortable parents should be the first ones to talk about sexual education with their children instead of strangers. Though it may be challenging this is something we really need to push. Having a child at a young age is very expensive and it comes with many challenges. “82 percent of teen pregnancies and births are unplanned and nearly always unwanted.
They often disrupt a girl’s education and life goals and sometimes result in shotgun marriages with poor long-term survival.” Said Jane Brody in Contraception for Teenagers. As teenagers, if you are unsure of something or feel uncomfortable and you cant find the resources on your own go approach an adult/guidance counselor in your school and ask questions. It never hurts to seek help on a topic you are unsure about. Teenagers who still engage in sexual activities should be informed about the contraceptives that are available out there if their still going to engage in such things. “Even informed teenagers may have trouble accessing contraceptives. Although half the states in the country have affirmed minors’ right to contraception, the others explicitly allow only certain categories of minors to consent to contraceptive services, a new report by the Guttmacher Institute shows.” According to Jane Brody. Giving only a certain category of minors the ability to consent to contraceptive services is not okay this does not help lower the risks of pregnancies of the teenagers who are not able to consent. We should be finding ways that can help all teenagers lower the risk of pregnancies instead of just a certain amount. Among the African American and Hispanic communities, they are the highest at risk group for pregnancies. With these communities being the highest at risk there should be programs brought up to reach them specifically and help provide affordable contraceptives.
While we should be pushing for a more comprehensive approach for sex education, Pam Belluck states in the article Trump Administration Pushes Abstinence in Teen Pregnancy Programs that “The Trump administration has issued new rules for funding programs to prevent teenage pregnancy, favoring those that promote abstinence and not requiring as rigorous evidence of effectiveness.” Pushing for abstinence only programs is not only not going to work but is basically putting teenagers in the position to become pregnant. Teaching teenagers to say no to any sexual activities will not be a good idea. The effectiveness from the abstinence only program may work at first but it will soon wear off and when it does wear off these teenagers will have no knowledge about any contraceptives or even maybe condoms putting the teens at more risk. According to The Editorial Board in The New Era of Abstinence “It makes it more difficult for women to acquire the knowledge they need to control if and when they become pregnant.” Without them having any knowledge about sexual intercourse or ways to prevent pregnancy they are at risk of becoming pregnant.
“Abstinence-only education keeps all people who are subjected to it in the dark about critical aspects of their health, and treats a normal part of life as aberrant and shameful.” as stated by The Editorial Board in The New of Abstinence. Something that is normal in life is not something that should be treated as shameful. Everyone even as teenagers should feel comfortable about what they are doing and when they are engaging in such activities they have the right to know everything there is to know about sexual intercourse to prevent them from being in situations they are not ready to be in. According to Pam Belluck in Programs That Fight Teenage Pregnancy Are at Risk of Being Cut “Abstinence-only programs have often failed to change teenage sexual behavior. A 2007 study of four such federally funded programs, for example, found “not even a hint of an effect on sexual activity, pregnancy or anything,” Mr. Baron said.” If abstinence only programs are failing to make any change in sexual activities in teenagers, why are we pushing for those programs to only be available? Although there has been a decline in teenage pregnancies if abstinence only programs are the only programs to become available they are likely to raise the rate of teenage pregnancies. Andrea Barrica stated in How To Make Sex More Dangerous that “States that place a heavy emphasis on abstinence-only sex ed have seen much higher rates of teen pregnancy, even when studies control for factors like income and education levels.”
“A lot of the credit for the decline belongs to health and education officials who have been coming up with new approaches to educate young people about sex and get them to make better decisions. One such effort was the Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program, created by Congress and implemented by the Obama administration in 2010. It provides five-year grants, in annual distributions, to cities, counties and health organizations to operate and evaluate public health programs aimed at teenagers.” Stated by The Editorial Board in An Assault on Efforts to Prevent Teenage Pregnancy. To continue to keep the rate on teenage pregnancies at a low we need to come up with ways we can best inform these teens on sexual education. Ways that are not just in schools but in communities also. A way we can start by is reaching out to the male teenagers more as well due to the fact that while engaging in sexual activities females are not the only ones engaging in that activity. “Research and data collection efforts have tended to focus on female adolescents.
As a result, less is known about the strategies and approaches for effectively engaging males in preventing teen pregnancies or even about their attitudes toward being a father.” Research done by Scott, M. E., Steward-Streng, N. R., Manlove, J., & Moore, K. A (hhs.gov). Males should be informed on ways to prevent pregnancies so that while engaging they are responsible and so if the female is not informed they can pass along what they have learned in their program and possibly motivate the female to attend one. Another way can be creating and spreading more comprehensive programs so that teenagers can have the proper knowledge and attitudes to making healthy decisions towards sexual intercourse. Andrea Barrica sates in How to Make Sex More Dangerous “During the Obama administration, funding for abstinence-only sex education was shifted toward more comprehensive sex education — and teen pregnancy dropped nationwide by 41 percent.” We should also try to reach out to teenagers before they become sexually active as well because that gives them a jumpstart on getting prepared for when they are ready. As stated by Jane Brody in Contraception for Teenagers “Dr. Karen Gerancher, author of a recent ACOG opinion article on counseling adolescents about contraception, said, “When we’re able to reach patients before they become sexually active, or early in their sexually active life, we empower them to take control of their reproductive health, and prevent sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies that could permanently impact the future they’ve envisioned for themselves.”.”
In abstinence only programs they are only taught to say no to sex overall and that it is shameful but they are not realizing that the ones who still engage in sexual activities need more information instead of being told to just say no. Jane Brody says in Contraception for Teenagers that “Teenagers who are not adequately informed about pregnancy prevention, or are told only about abstinence, are more likely to become pregnant than those told about birth control options, including emergency contraception, and how to get them.” Educating teenagers about the most effective birth control is very important as well due to the fact that peer pressure does exist and not all condoms are good. Condoms sometimes have the ability to pop and it may go unnoticed with an effective birth control that can also help keep the risk lower of pregnancy. Stated by Jane Brody in Contraception for Teenagers “Condoms, sold over-the-counter and sometimes distributed free in schools, are the most frequently used contraceptives by teens.[…] in practice condoms are among the poorest means to prevent pregnancy — better only than withdrawal. Currently, the most effective methods — so-called long-acting reversible contraceptives — are least often used by adolescents.” Overall there are a lot of ways to keep the decline in teenage pregnancy but it is up to us as an society to help enforce these programs and also find new ways to prevent teenage pregnancy.
Teenage pregnancy is a huge social issue in the world. With Donald Trump pushing for abstinence only programs this will only put teenagers more at risk of becoming pregnant due to the fact that they will not have the proper knowledge. It is up to us to continue to have more comprehensive sex education programs inside schools and even communities, to also educate the males as well, find ways to improve programs that are not effective as others, and educate about the most effective contraceptives there are, etc. Our goal is to keep the decline in teenage pregnancy.