The US has a higher unwanted pregnancy rate than any other country (Unintended Pregnancy in the United States). This is very unfortunate because sex ed is not commonly discussed. Teen not only have no idea what they are committing to, they have no training to properly raise and grow a child. Pregnancy causes teens to have to mature quicker than normal, they are also pushed to be more responsible. Few like to discuss this topic because it is very controversial. Idealist believe that teens should be more educated on abstinence rather than birth control and protection (Lowen). If somehow teens cannot avoid abstinence they feel shamed upon for using protection designed for sex.
“In 2015, a total of 229,715 babies were born to women aged 15-19 years”, most of which were unwanted/ unplanned (About Teen Pregnancy | Teen Pregnancy | Reproductive Health | CDC). These unwanted pregnancies lead to these women to not finish school and get the proper education necessary it even leads them to delaying college. Only 40 percent of females finish high school after their pregnancy, and out of that 40 percent only 2 percent attend college. Not attending college can be very harmful in a teens future, which can cause them to not maintain a stable job (Why it Matters). Thousands of younger parents are put on government help such as food stamps or WIC, due to not having a stable job (Lowen). All of the above are contributions to make a teen feel pressure and result in anger towards their child (Lowen). Child abuse rates are rising due to the lack of experience and stress a teen can feel when being/ after their pregnancy. Another factor that can cause issues is the amount of support the teen is receiving. Some families are willing to help them out, but others just do not support their “terrible decision”.
If a teen receives very little support it can be difficult for them to feel confident and well enough to raise a child. Interviewee Torris Lewis, a close friend, unfortunately is 16, and is currently pregnant with her first child. She says if she did not receive the amount of support from her family she could not be where she is. She is currently living with her grandparents, the babys dad and her brother. She stated that if schools would put in the time and effort to educate the kids about sex education instead of all the “pointless knowledge” she would not have dropped out. The issue we have today is the forcing of abstinence, you can not expect a teen to avoid what their peers do. Schools need to educate the effects of sex instead of looking down upon those who participate in sex.
The best way to provide knowledge to teens is through school. Each female and male should be required to attend this class to further their knowledge about the consequences of sex and how protection is essential. Another probable solution is an additional course for parents to take for them to know how to properly educate their children about this uncomfortable topic. Parents need to be encouraged to talk to their kids about this subject. When interviewing Torris Lewis she said “my mother had never spoken to me about the consequences of an accidental pregnancy”, in the past couple months she has had to grow up really fast and become more mature (Lewis). She is struggling to provide for herself and her coming family, she has also been put on many other money providers such as WIC. Educating teens is the best way to go about informing them about the hazards of being sexually active.
There are many benefits to encouraging safe sex, contraceptives, and education about the topic. This would decrease the amount of teen pregnancies per year and increase education. With reducing the number of teen pregnancies America will be able to see the increase in graduation rates (Why it Matters).
- “About Teen Pregnancy | Teen Pregnancy | Reproductive Health | CDC.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/about/index.htm.
- Lowen, Linda, et al. “What Are the Top Reasons Behind the Abortion Decision?” Thoughtco., Dotdash, www.thoughtco.com/why-women-choose-abortion-3534155.
- Unintended Pregnancy in the United States.” Guttmacher Institute, 20 Sept. 2017, www.guttmacher.org/fact-sheet/unintended-pregnancy-united-states.
- “Why It Matters.” Power to Decide, powertodecide.org/what-we-do/information/why-it-matters.