There has been a significant increase in teenage pregnancy in recent years. Although I have not personally experienced this situation, my understanding is based on the experiences of my friends who became pregnant at a young age. It is worth mentioning that I do not make any moral judgments about teenage pregnancy. For certain teenagers, it can be a positive experience as long as they are emotionally ready for it. Moreover, it can offer valuable life lessons and foster a sense of responsibility. However, for less mature teenagers, it can lead to serious consequences.
If individuals are not ready for the possible outcomes, they should abstain from engaging in sexual activity. Numerous individuals often wonder how unintended pregnancies happen even when precautions such as using condoms and birth control methods are taken. These methods are not completely reliable and can sometimes result in unplanned pregnancies. Being a teenager with a child can be exceedingly difficult, which is true for nearly all circumstances.
Becoming a parent is a profound responsibility that outweighs all other aspects of life. It involves assuming the care of another person’s life in a demanding world where teenage pregnancy is frequently overlooked due to the prevalence of births.
Despite HHS funding teen pregnancy prevention programs for 47 percent of communities, teenage pregnancies continue to occur at a significant rate nationwide (Almanac of Policy Issues). One contributing factor is that most teenagers have already engaged in sexual activities by the age of sixteen, with abstinence being uncommon. Approximately one million teenage pregnancies occur each year in the United States, accounting for around 13 percent of all births. Shockingly, nearly 40 percent of American women experience pregnancy before reaching twenty years old, and an alarming 78 percent of these pregnancies are unintended, making up a quarter of all accidental pregnancies annually (Planned Parenthood).
Adolescents have a limited understanding of sex and the potential consequences it can bring, such as unintended pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) to both themselves and their child. Certain STDs, like HIV, can even be fatal, while others cannot be cured and burden individuals for life. The Almanac of Policy Issues reports that President Bush’s fiscal year 2003 budget included an additional $33 million for abstinence education, increasing the total funding in this area to $135 million as promised.
Teenage pregnancies present multiple difficulties for young mothers due to their immaturity in childcare. Based on my observations, these adolescent mothers frequently prioritize socializing with friends over attending to their weeping infant. Furthermore, they are more likely to have lower educational achievements compared to individuals who become parents at the age of twenty-five.
Unintended pregnancy among teenage girls can lead to high school dropout, depriving them of future educational opportunities. Although a few may later have the chance to attend college after their child grows up, many women may never get another opportunity for valuable education. Avoiding enrollment in higher education institutions can negatively affect their chances of obtaining a degree, which is crucial for securing specific job prospects.
Teenagers are more likely to engage in substance use, such as drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, which can have serious health consequences and lead to long-term emotional and physical disabilities. Scott (195) suggests that early childbirth negatively affects both the mother’s pregnancy experience and the well-being of the baby. However, there are now various methods available to prevent unplanned pregnancies.
The current lack of education on complete abstinence from sexual activities for children is a significant issue. Children are constantly exposed to sexual messages through television and magazines, courtesy of the media. Moreover, there is an inadequate number of schools that offer comprehensive sex education, which requires attention. It is essential for sex education to prioritize the promotion of abstinence from sexual activities, emphasizing potential consequences such as pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases, while also educating about preventive methods.
It is crucial to encourage teenagers to delay engaging in sexual activities, which is the primary message of these programs. Introducing them into schools would have multiple advantages as it actively engages children. Instead of socializing with friends, kids would have the chance to be in an educational environment that will ultimately benefit their future. This evaluation focuses on the impact of specific programs on teenage sexual activity.
It is essential to incorporate these programs into the school curriculum because they offer potential advantages beyond their specific goals. These benefits encompass boosting self-confidence among adolescents and fostering awareness about HIV risks. The integration process would involve including a single class in students’ timetables from middle school through high school, effectively averting early parenthood for many young teenagers.
The expenses for these programs, which are included in the curriculum, will remain unchanged. Students only need to pay for textbooks, which can range from $30 to $70. Teachers will not receive any benefits from these programs. If there is no increase in expenses by incorporating these programs into the school curriculum, then teacher salaries will also be unaffected. Additionally, besides school classes, various community programs can be integrated to allow middle and high school students to interact with younger children and gain understanding of parental responsibilities.
Certain schools have a program that lets students take care of a computer programmed baby for a set period, offering a valuable chance for young individuals to understand the responsibilities of parenthood. In cases where abstinence is not possible, there are programs accessible for teenagers to obtain prescriptions for birth control.
Planned Parenthood is a global program that ensures the confidentiality of individuals’ information and offers financial assistance for prescriptions. Their clinics are conveniently located in various towns, providing accessible birth control options. Additionally, Planned Parenthood offers examinations and various tests, including pregnancy testing. Immediate action is necessary.
There are various solutions to address the issue of teenage pregnancy, and it is imperative for individuals to acknowledge that ignoring the problem will not make it vanish. A potential avenue for progress lies in implementing sex education classes and community programs, which have the potential to enhance numerous lives, as becoming a parent during adolescence does not equate to success.
- Almanac of Policy Issues. 10 June 2002. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. 4 Mar. 2005 .
- Jones, Elise F., Jacqueline Darroch Forrest, Noreen Goldman, Stanley Henshaw, Richard Lincoln, Jeannie I. Rosoff, Charles F. Westoff, and Deirdre Wulf. Teenage Pregnancy in Industrialized Countries. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1986.
- Planned Parenthood. Dec. 1999. 4 Mar. 2005 .
- Scott, Keith G. ed., Tiffany Field, ed., Euan G. Robertson, ed. Teenage Parents and Their Offspring. New York: Grune ; Stratton, Inc., 1981.
- Tender, Diana. Services to Teen Mothers in New York City. New York: Community Council Of Greater New York, 1982