I was at an event at Duke last night about young mothers and teen pregnancy; and the keynote speaker was Sarah Brown, the CEO of the National campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned pregnancy. Sarah Brown had some incredible, well thought our ideas about teen pregnancy issues. she advocates for a completely comprehensive approach: parents, pop-culture, education, job opportunities, , and messages in the media all must be working together to give teenagers a clear idea about when and how is the best way to start a family. I would love to share some of her ideas with all of our wonderful Amplify readers:
She spoke about why the US has the highest teen pregnancy rates of any country in the developed world. Teens in the united sates have a striking lack of clarity about having children. There are people who DO not want to get pregnant, and they use contraception correctly and consistently. Then there are people who WANT to get pregnant, and they are usually married and have a job and are ready to start a family. Then there is a group of teens that fall in the middle; they are neither actively trying to get pregnant, nor actively trying to prevent it. So many teen mothers say that they knew that condoms worked, but they weren’t sure that happened and they ended up pregnant. Maybe they thought that having a baby would bring meaning to their life or that it would strengthen their relationship, but after they got pregnant they realized what they had done. SO many teenagers are just not sure what they want or what to do, many of them end up pregnant.
THIS is the reason why we have such high teen pregnancy rates!! We MUST become crystal clear as a generation and as a culture as to what is and is not acceptable when it comes to teen pregnancy and sex.
We must have not only sex education, we need to have relationship education, even love education. When was the last time that a teacher stood up in front of a class and said “babies MUST have adult parents.” Forget all the abstinence vs. comprehensive sex ed., we need to have that discussion as well, but what about the simple but critical “rules” of the road when it comes to having a family? What about if a teacher talks to a health class and says that “a baby doesn’t give unconditional love, it requires unconditional love”. What about “having a baby stresses a relationship, it doesn’t bring people together.” What about “sex won’t make him yours and a baby wont make him stay?” These important messages must be discussed and embraced by our generation-my generation-so that we can become clear as to how and when to have a family that will be healthy and happy.
The federal government has given over a billion dollars to fund abstinence-only programs, and NOT ONE DIME to comprehensive programs. Want to do something about it? Click here to send a letter you your senators and representatives asking them to fend funding for ineffective abstinence-only programs.