Teen Pregnancy

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Teen pregnancy is not as taboo a subject as it was decades ago; however, it continues to be a social problem due to the consequences that arise from teen pregnancy. Substance abuse, low socioeconomic status, lack of caregiver involvement in the home, lack of education and peer pressure can all lead to teen pregnancy (Kirby, 2001). Dropping out of school and having a destructive home environment can also be a precursor to teen pregnancy, thereby increasing abortion rates across the country. Community agencies can work to prevent teen pregnancy. 

In California, Advocates for Youth have a program in place to prevent teen pregnancy through working with siblings of teenaged moms. The program is put in place as it is though that siblings of pregnant teens may be more likely to become pregnant. By providing case management, various services, and education the program strives to reduce these rates. Planned Parenthood is a national program that strives to not only prevent teen pregnancy through education and providing transportation services but also strives to provide healthcare services to already pregnant teens. These comprehensive services include both referrals and education about prenatal care and how to care for a baby once it is born.

Due to these services, the teen pregnancy rate has been declining in California and San Joaquin County. Although the pregnancy rate has been declining the rates are still high in comparison to teenage pregnancy rates all around the world (Boonstra, 2002). The reason for the decline in teen pregnancy is a result of teenagers receiving more education regarding sexual subjects and contraception. As a result of this education, teenagers are both abstaining from sex but also utilizing contraception more effectively (Coyle et al., 2001). Through the continued use of a preventive program geared towards a two-fold approach which aims to reduce the number of teenagers who engage in sexual activity before they are ready. This approach would also ensure that teenagers who are engaging in sexual activity are engaging in safe sexual activity by using contraception and not having to consider abortion once pregnant. Through this approach, the rate of teenage pregnancy can be reduced even further. This would result in fewer children being born in unhealthy means to mother who are unable to care for them. This would also break the cycle of teenage parents having children who later become teen parents.

References

Boonstra, H. (2002). Teen pregnancy: Trends and lessons learned. Alan Guttmacher Institute.

Coyle, K., Basen-Engquist, K., Kirby, D., Parcel, G., Banspach, S., Collins, J., ... & Harrist, R.  (2001). Safer choices: reducing teen pregnancy, HIV, and STDs. Public Health Reports, 116(Suppl 1), 82.

Kirby, D. (2001). Emerging answers: Research findings on programs to reduce teen pregnancy. National Campaign To Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 1776 Massachusetts Avenue, NW,# 200, Washington, DC 20036.