With teenage pregnancy being ever prominent, it is very important for teenage girls and boys to have access to birth control in order to avoid an unintended pregnancy. Birth control and sex education is a controversial subject in many communities. The type of comprehensive health education or sex education information made available to teenagers through school is dictated by law. In South Carolina, schools are required to teach abstinence and provide information concerning sex as a future reference for family planning between married individuals.
According to law, no schools are allowed to distribute contraceptives. (http://www. ncsse. com) Is there a need for birth control in our public high schools? In 2007, 49% of female students in high school and 55% of male students in high school in South Carolina reported having sexual relationships. During this same year, 57% of females and 68% of males in South Carolina related that condoms were used during the last time they had sexual intercourse. Only 16% of females reported being on birth control pills the last time they had sex.
(http://www. ncsse. om) With these statistics, it is clear that between thirty to forty percent of students having sexual relationships are doing so unprotected. While the numbers of teens becoming sexual active in high school shows that around half of teens are sexually active, the numbers may be much higher. The emphasis on abstinence until marriage in South Carolina is clearly not impacting what is occurring in our society. Instead of putting so much funding and emphasis in community and school-based abstinence education, perhaps the money could be better spent on providing pregnancy prevention.
When children are born to teens, we all help foot the cost. Around eleven billion dollars per year is spent by taxpayers in the United States to pay for health and foster care for infants of teen moms. (http://www. thenationalcampaign. org) There is an increased number of teen parents who are incarcerated as well as lost tax revenue due to the lower education and income among teen mothers. Pregnancy also contributes greatly to teen girls dropping out of school. Only 50% of teen moms, compared to 90% of girls without children graduate from high school nationwide. (Perper, 2010)
Theory of human growth and development may better explain why teens may engage in risky sexual behavior. According to Freud, the final stage of sexual development is the genital stage. Freud believed that this stage which incorporates those years from twelve and beyond focuses on expressing sexual behavior. Erikson thought that social and cultural environments greatly affected the sex drive of individuals. He thought of the growth of individuals from twelve to twenty years of age as a progression towards maturity and self-awareness. At this time, most teens establish their identities with social groups.
However, they are puzzled about how to behave as adults in adult situations. Peer relationships have a huge influence on the attitudes of teens during this stage of development. When attitudes about sexual relationships are more pronounced within a community or school, teens may feel more pressured to express themselves sexually and put themselves at risk of becoming pregnant or getting sexually transmitted diseases. (www. speedyceus. com ) We can no longer turn a blind eye to what is occurring throughout the country and in high schools. The use of contraception among teens is improving, but there is still room for improvement.
According to research, one out of four girls and one out of five boys did not use birth control during the last sexual encounter. 48% of boys and a mere 28% of teen girls stated that a condom was used every time during sex. These numbers are even more staggering when considering that condoms are the most common method of contraception used. (www. thenationalcampaign. org) In communities and schools where there are higher numbers of pregnancy or sexual transmitted diseases are great, condom distribution must be viewed as an important public health intervention and must be made available to high school students.
The American Academy of Pediatrics even recommends that condoms be made available in high schools for teens which are sexually active and I support this measure as well for all high schools. The academy advises, “In the interest of public health, restrictions and barriers to condom use should be removed. ” Dr. David Kaplan, chief of adolescent medicine at the University ofColorado, School of Medicine in Denver stated, “Unless a condom is used every time it will not provide protection. Teens are not always consistent with condom use. ” (www. abcnews. go. om ) In my opinion, the reason teens are not consistent in the use of condoms is because condoms are not always easily accessible. Teens who are too young to drive are at a greater disadvantage due to the fact that they have no way of obtaining contraception outside the watchful eye of parents. If condoms were to be made available in high school, many unwanted pregnancies could be avoided. School officials in Springfield recently echoed this message. A school committee in Springfield drafted a policy to provide condoms to students which will be provided by the Department of Public Health.
According to policy, parents “will be notified on condom availability in the schools and will have the opportunity to deny permission (opt out) for access to condoms for their student(s). ” Through this new Comprehensive Reproductive Health Policy, condoms would be made available through the school nurse or school clinic. When students receive condoms, they would also receive counseling regarding abstinence as well as instructions on how to store and use condoms properly. (www. masslive. com ) The passage of such policies could greatly protect the health and safety of teens as well as children born to young and ill-equipped parents.
Teen pregnancies are not going away, we can no longer stick our heads in the sand and think that high school students will not engage in sexual relationships. We must first teach students responsible behaviors which include abstinence and proper use of condoms. Then, we must provide condoms. Consistent and effective use of condoms is a must for students who decide to have sex since this greatly reduces the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Often times, teens do not use contraception or condoms specifically because they are too expensive or difficult to obtain.
If the goal is to reduce the number of unintended pregnancies in high school, the legislature and society in general must open their eyes and face reality. Access to contraception, condoms specifically, is critically important not only to teens who may be affected by an unwanted pregnancy, but to the child and to taxpayers who will ultimately bear the burden of paying this expense in the long run through food stamps, unemployment, foster care or incarceration. References “Chapter 2: Sexuality and Lifecycles. ” Human Sexuality CEUS. 2011. Web. 22 Mar. 2012. lt;http://www. speedyceus. com/ceus-courses/material_detail/207>. “Counting It Up: The Public Costs of Teen Childbearing. “The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. 2012. Web. 24 Mar. 2012. <http://www. thenationalcampaign. org/costs/default. aspx>. Eisner, Robin. “Docs: Give Teens Condoms in High School. ” ABC News. ABC News Network, 02 June. Web. 21 Mar. 2012. <http://abcnews. go. com/Health/story? id=117403>. Goonan, Peter. “Free Condoms for Springfield Students 12 and over Gets Initial Approval by School Committee. The Republican. 15 Mar. 2012. Web. 26 Mar. 2012. <http://www. masslive. com/news/index. ssf/2012/03/springfield_school_committee_g_1. html>. Perper K, Peterson K, Manlove J. Diploma Attainment Among Teen Mothers. Child Trends, Fact Sheet Publication #2010-01: Washington, DC: Child Trends; 2010. “Science Says: Teen Contraceptive Use. ” The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. Sept. 2006. Web. 23 Mar. 2012. <http://www. thenationalcampaign. org/resources/pdf/SS/SS29_Contraceptive. pdf>.
Cite this Teen Pregnancy Nowadays
Teen Pregnancy Nowadays. (2016, Sep 27). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/teen-pregnancy-nowadays/