I remember when I was in the sixth grade, I found out that an eighth-grader in our school was pregnant. I never knew how she became pregnant or why she wanted to keep the baby. All I knew was how incredibly big her stomach was to her entire body. I remember the jokes our school would make about her and how they “feel sorry for the girl but would never become like that girl.” Their views of teens that were pregnant were negative but twisted into a humorous way of positivity. Society has persuaded people to believe that some females do not respect their bodies or themselves. What society didn’t tell others was how easily it was for a girl to fall into any situation that could lead to pregnancy. The stigma around teen pregnancy needs to be addressed in America.
Maya Angelou, a famous poet, and activist once told Oprah on live television how the world including her mother made her feel about becoming a pregnant teenager. She said that her mother was “very loving. Very accepting. Not one minute of recrimination… she never felt any shame.” As for the world, there were times during her pregnancy that she felt shame and loneliness. She gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in 1940. Society during the early 20th century saw young pregnant adolescents as social pariahs. The mid-1900s is when there was a peak of teen pregnancies, which eventually led Bill Clinton and other presidents to say that it was their biggest “social problem” (Boonstra).
Even though teen pregnancy is a highly debated issue in America, “the rate of teen childbearing in the United States has fallen steeply since the late 1950s” (“Teen Pregnancy”). Females and males are becoming more knowledgeable about teen pregnancy. America is slowly beginning to integrate sex education into the youth of America. There are many reasons and ways that a woman can get pregnant. These reasons include; rape, statutory rape, no protection, failed protection, etc. Western society has always had a very narrow view of teen pregnancy. Adolescent females feel pressured about their life and the life growing when a situation like this occurs.
Shows like Teen Mom and Sixteen and Pregnant, have shown the public trials that young parents go through after they have a child. In order to properly address teen pregnancy, America needs to find solutions on how to decrease the rate of adolescent pregnancy other than abstinent and abortion. Compared to other countries, the U.S has the highest rate of pregnancies than any other industrialized country. Why does the U.S have such a high adolescent birth rate? Unlike other industrialized countries, America does not make contraception easily accessible to the youth, and they do not invest time and money for the public to support themselves over the rights of sexual and reproductive health. America’s economy and education system do not involve the matter of the rights of sexual and reproductive health. The economy and education system suffer negative impacts from teens that do deal with teenage pregnancy. ‘Only about 50% of teen mothers receive a high school diploma by 22 years of age, whereas approximately 90% of women who do not give birth during adolescence graduate from high school” (” About Teen Pregnancy”). Young adolescents without any degree of education usually have a low or poor income that greatly affects the economy. In order to improve our economy and help young women with teen pregnancy, we should be raising awareness and help people understand the need for contraception.