Whoomp! There it is! A Teen Pregnancy Expose

Teen pregnancy has been lowering according to the recent statistics but still needs to be urgently addressed

Teen pregnancy has been lowering according to the recent statistics but still needs to be urgently addressed

3 in 10 teen girls will be pregnant once in their lifetime before age 20. Look around you. Statistically, a girl in your class is probably pregnant right now, at this very moment. Could it be you? Teen pregnancy is an epidemic, and although rates have gone down for all ethnicities and races about 9% since 2010, there are still nearly 750,000 teen pregnancies every year.

Not only are the births still high- admittedly 30% lower than in the fifties, but still much too high- there are major racial and ethnic disparities in teen pregnancy statistics as well. For white (non-hispanic) females, the birth rate is 19 births per 1000, black females at 39 per 1000, and Latina females hold the lead at 42 births per 1000.

What causes this racial divide? Experts theorize an array of societal factors contribute to this nationwide issue, namely poverty and sex education in poor areas versus affluent areas. However, the causes still, after all this time, seem to be evading professionals, and the racial divide baffles numerous prestigious institutions, including the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and the OAH (Office of Adolescent Health). The best guess is poverty and individual culture, such as the desire to get pregnant young or the belief against using contraceptives.

Although preventative measures have been taken to reduce birth rates, there is still much to be done. More than half of the states still teach sex-ed on an abstinence-only basis, and in most states, laws have been passed that require teenagers to ask their parents for permission before being able to get an abortion. Because of the shame and stigmas surrounding teen pregnancy, most teens would choose to hide it or engage in unsafe alternative methods of abortion instead of confiding in their parents. Of course, the best solution to this is to let teenagers get abortions without parental permission, given it is the teen’s body, not the parents’. But this is unlikely, given that abortions are already so controversial in the first place.

Teen pregnancy is treated as a mystery whose reasons evade us, but it’s not that simple. Babies don’t just pop out of nowhere. If we become more proactive and campaign for laws to be passed, or abolished, we can end the teen pregnancy epidemic once and for all.