CAUSE OF THE MONTH: Teen Pregnancy Awareness
Though teen pregnancy rates have declined in the past few years, 3 in 10 girls will still experience a pregnancy before the time they reach 20 years of age.
Here are some more statistics about the reality, and impact, of teen pregnancy:
- The U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy rates in the industrialized world
- When a sexually active teen doesn’t use contraceptives, she has a 90% chance of becoming pregnant within a year
- Only one-third of teen mothers earn their high school diploma, and fewer than 2% earn a college degree by age 30
- Children of teen mothers do worse in school than those born to older parents—they are 50% more likely to repeat a grade and are less likely to complete high school
- About one-fourth of teen moms have a second child within 24 months of the first birth—which can further delay their ability to finish school or keep a job.
There are a lot of great organizations out there doing what they can to raise awareness among teens about the risks of getting pregnant if you’re sexually active, but one of our favorites is Stay Teen. Stay Teen is part of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, and its goal is to encourage teens to enjoy their teen years and avoid the responsibilities that come with too-early pregnancy and parenting. From their site:
“The more you know about issues like sex, relationships, waiting, and contraception, the better prepared you will be to make informed choices for your future. We’re not telling you how to live your life…we just want to give you some food for thought and the latest facts. It’s up to you to make your own smart decisions.”
The Stay Teen website features all kinds of information and resources for teens, including quizzes, information on birth control, interactive maps to find a health center near you, relationship advice, and more. They also have suggestions for how you can get involved in raising awareness about the important issue of teen pregnancy, including:
- Join an organization in your community devoted to preventing teen pregnancy—they are are all over and are usually affiliated with churches, synagogues, schools, independent clubs, non-profit organizations, health centers, and reproductive health organizations.
- Contact your local school board, faith leaders, youth groups, and others who are concerned about young people.
- Talk to parents and teens and educate them about the consequences of unprotected sex and teen pregnancy.
- You can also share videos like this one on your Facebook page:
Has the issue of teen pregnancy had an impact on you or any of your friends? What do you think is the most effective way to raise awareness and prevent more teen pregnancies?