Preventing Teenage Pregnancy

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Preventing Teenage Pregnancy


The problem of teenage pregnancy is usually seen as a controversial issue, which affects not just the mother and her child but society as a whole. Teenage pregnancy happens among women under age 20. This problem is not limited to culture, religion, education or moral values and beliefs. Here are some facts: Every year almost a million teenage girls become pregnant. Teen pregnancy rates in the U.S. are falling, but they are still much higher than most other industrialized countries. Teenage pregnancy carries high costs in terms of both the social and economic health of mothers and their children. Teenage mothers are less likely to receive prenatal care, and their children are more likely to be born before term, to have low birth weights, and to have developmental delays. Teenage mothers are also less likely to complete their education than moms over twenty years of age. In this essay, I would like to present some of the causes and effects of teenage pregnancy. The most important reason to educate about teen pregnancy is to be able to devise methods on preventing it.

The Problem


Approximately one million adolescent women become pregnant every year, and it is estimated that two out of every five (40%) 14-year-old American girls will become pregnant before they reach their 20th birthday (85% of which will be unintended). Approximately half of adolescent pregnancies end in birth, one-third in abortion, and the rest in miscarriages. Also, one- eighth of all adolescents 13 through 19 years of age and about one-fourth of sexually experienced adolescents become infected with a sexually transmitted disease (STD), including HIV (AIDS) each year.


The costs of a teenage birth include less education for the mother, larger families, greater likelihood of a single-parent family, and fewer economic resources. Approximately 53% of Aid to Families with Dependent Children, a $22.2 billion government assistance program, goes to families that started with a teenage birth.


An adolescent who is sexually active and does not use any contraception has a 90% chance of getting pregnant, and, if her partners are infected, she has a 90% of contracting a STD in one year. While contraceptive use has increased among teenagers and is almost as prevalent and as effective as that of unmarried 20-year-olds, it is not used frequently enough or in the most effective manner by either group. This is because 1) a substantial number of young women are pressured or forced to have sex, often by older males; 2) most forms of effective birth control require advanced planning which adolescents do not do well; 3) contraceptive materials are not conveniently available to teenagers; and 4) some teenagers, especially those from very-low-income and/or abusive families living in depressed or violent neighborhoods may not be sufficiently motivated to prevent pregnancy(Hayes, 67).

Types of Prevention Programs

The primary reason that teenage girls who have never had intercourse give for abstaining from sex is that having sex would be against their religious or moral values. Prevention programs typically attempt to delay the initiation of sexual ...
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