April 29, 2011 Preventing Unplanned Teen Pregnancies is Possible and Valuable One of the largest drains on our society is the cost associated with unplanned pregnancies, especially those in teenagers. With the proper implementation of preventative programs, these costs could be lower or alleviated all together. While the United States teen pregnancy rate fell in 2009, it was calculated in a 2006 report by Saul Hoffman, that teen childbearing cost taxpayers at least $9. 1 billion (The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy).
Preventative programs along with parents and adults having open conversations with teens about these newly famous reality mothers could go a long way to help stop teen pregnancy. States spend a huge amount of money every year due to unplanned pregnancies. Some of the costs that add up due to these pregnancies are a result of the use of welfare programs, judicial systems and health care (Foreman). Federal money is available for states to improve existing programs and create new ones; each state is responsible for applying for these funds. Some of these funds require a state to match, while some does not.
Unfortunately not all states are taking advantage of these opportunities. It is imperative that states take this opportunity to request these funds, to implement programs which can lower the bottom line on the cost of unplanned pregnancies. There are a variety of grants available which could focus on almost every philosophy, whether it is on proper contraceptive use or abstinence. Some states are refusing to apply for the money because of concerns that teaching about the proper use of contraceptives could promote sexual activity or send mixed signals, which Texas Representative Donna Howard calls, “erroneous” and is “baffled” (Foreman).
The national campaign to prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy offers a wealth of information and programs that delay sexual initiation, improve contraceptive use among sexually active teens, and/or prevent teen pregnancy. These programs can be effective if they can convince teens not having sex at all or using contraception regularly if they are going to be active is the right thing to do (The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy). They should also address peer pressure and teach communication skills. These skills will be useful to discuss newly popular television shows that focus on teen mothers.
Hollywood’s role in teen pregnancy is changing society views on teen mothers. Television has the ability to edit life and show on snippets of day to day activities and only lasts 30 minutes. The reality of it is that a baby lasts a lifetime. One young mother said that she “feels like her childhood is over (Teen Pregnancy; The numbers of teen girls giving birth is scarily on the rise. But is life as a young mum as glamorous as what we see on TV, or is reality very different? ). ” These television shows should be used as a teaching tool and discussion groups formed, to ensure a positive outcome as a result of watching them.
In a study conducted by the national campaign to prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy, it was concluded that among teens who watched 16 and pregnant, a MTV series, 82% think that the show helps give a better understanding of the challenges of pregnancy and parenthood, compared to the 15% who thinks it glamorizes pregnancy (Suellentrop, Brown and Ortiz). Not only do teens need to learn about the challenges of parenthood, but they should also be made aware of other issues that pregnancy can affect. The heath care system is inflated by teen pregnancy.
Babies born to young mothers are more likely to be premature and have low birth weight, requiring lengthy and expensive health care, that most of these mothers don’t have coverage or money for (CDC Reports Lowest Teen Pregnancy Rate in 70 Years). Other issues that young mothers face relate to their education. Thirty four percent of young mothers never earn their high school diploma or equivalent by the age of 22, whereas only six percent of teenagers who did not have children don’t (Foreman). These young mothers are not only changing their lives but also the lives of the children they are bringing into this world.
Children brought into this world to a single parent family are more than four times as probable to be considered poor as children who are born into a two parent family (Sawhill, Thomas and Monea). These children are also less likely themselves to graduate from high school than children from older parents (Foreman). It is a life of poverty and under education that most young mothers are giving to the children. This is another reason that preventative programs are so very important, not only for the teen they are meant for, but the unborn children as well.
Teens need these programs to learn about every method available to prevent unplanned pregnancies, one necessary factor in this equation is parental involvement. Parents should discuss responsible decisions and contraception because it is found that family values are related to adolescents attitude and behavior (Commendador). It is the responsibility of each parent to discuss the issues that these programs are teaching with their children, to enforce not only their beliefs, but to open the lines of communication with their children, which is proven to be a positive influence on teen decision making.
It is imperative that in order to ensure a better tomorrow for our children, we give them the tools they need to make the most informative decision possible. It is through programs offered in and out of school, and parents communicating better with their children, that will make the fight against unplanned pregnancies winnable. The Daughters of America will be better, smarter, stronger women creating a better nation with the guidance they gain from these preventative programs. Bibliography “CDC Reports Lowest Teen Pregnancy Rate in 70 Years. ” 5 Apr 2011. GeneralOneFile.
CQ Healthbeat. 16 April 2011 <http://proxy. florencelibrary. org:2053/gps/infomark. do? &contentSet=IAC-Documents&type=retrieve&tabID=T003&prodId=IPS&docId=A253776695&source=gale&srcprod=>. Commendador, Kathleen A. “Parental influences on adolescent decision making and contraceptive use. ” Pediatric Nursing (2010): 147-156,170. Foreman, Megan. “Taking responsibilty: new federal money to prevent teen pregnancies gives states some options. ” State Legislatures February 2011: 26-29. Sawhill, Isabel, Adam Thomas and Emily Monea. “An