Category Archives: teen pregnancy

A Cause for Celebration and Work

In our microwave-Twitter world it is easy to forget how far we have come.  This morning I was looking through a old notebook and came across some staggering numbers. 

In 1993 there were 11,271 pregnancies to females in SC 15-19.

11,271.

That is nearly 1 out of every 10 female teens 15-19. 

15-17 Year Old Decline.jpgThis week the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy announced that last year there were 4,759 births to females 15-19. 

11,271-4,759=6,512 fewer births to females 15-19.  Since 1992 there have been 48,037 fewer teen births!

Since 1992 SC has witnessed a 54% reduction in the teen birth rate.

The progress SC has made has saved SC taxpayers an estimated $172 million in 2010 alone compared to the costs that would have incurred had the rates not fallen.

But there is still work to do!  There were still 4,759 teen births last year—4,759 too many.  That is why we cannot let up on the progress we have made.  Yet much of it is at risk as Congress seeks to make devastating cuts to programs that have led to much of this success.  Those cuts would eliminate $5 Million dollars that come to SC annually.  Citizens who care about our children, citizens who care about fiscal responsibility need to add their voices to say that we need these programs to continue. 

So we need to take time out of our celebrating to contact our representatives to say that we are only half way there!  We want to continue the progress that we are making in SC and around the country.  For the sake of the budget. For the sake of the children.  For the sake of our nation!

For more information, see the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy and the National Campaign to Reduce Teen and Unplanned Pregnancies

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It’s All About the Relationship

It is All About the Relationships

We read the news about teens in the United States:

  • 47.4% had ever had sexual intercourse
  • 33.7% had had sexual intercourse during the previous 3 months, and, of these
  • 39.8% did not use a condom the last time they had sex
  • 76.7% did not use birth control pills or Depo-Provera to prevent pregnancy the last time they had sex
  • 15.3% had had sex with four or more people during their life[1]

Those statistics terrify parents, faith leaders, educators, business leaders—and for good reason.  The ramifications are more than we want to consider.  In light of this, it is easy to narrow our focus.  It is all about sex!

Many times that is where the fight centers.  It is about sex!  It is about teaching individuals not to have sex.  It is about teaching individuals to use contraceptives when having sex.  It is all about sex!

But it isn’t!

It is about the relationship!  It is about the need that humans have to be intimate with another person, to feel desired and wanted and attractive and worthy.  It is about being known by another person in the most intimate way possible.  It is about being naked—physically and emotionally and know that you are safe!

It is about the relationship with parents, knowing that if you ask a question about sex you won’t be judged, ostracized or put on restriction.  It is knowing that your teen is a lot like you were when you were their age—full of all the questions, fears, yearnings.  It about allowing your relationship to grow and develop.

It is about the relationship with those who aren’t related to us, caring enough about the students in your class to know that what happens when they leave has as much to do with what they learn as what happens in class.  It is knowing that if we don’t care enough about young people that we won’t have customers or workers in a few years, let along any one to pay for my Social Security!

It is about the relationships!

It is helping our young people make good decisions about their sexuality, but even more about how they navigate the troubled emotional waters.  As Amber Madison reminded us at the recent Summer Institute, it all comes back to that note we used to pass in grade school: “I like you. Do you like me?  Check yes or no!”

As important as it is for us to help our youth deal with questions about sexuality—and we must help them make smart, informed, wise decisions—we also have to help them answer the relationship questions.  “How do you know when you are in love? “  “Why does it hurt so bad when she said no?”  “Why won’t anyone ask me out?”

These questions are just as important—if not more basic!

 

 

[1] Youth Risk Behavior Survey.  http://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/sexualbehaviors/index.htm

 

A version of this appeared on the SC Campaign Personal Perspective Blog.  You can read it here!

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Filed under Adolescents, Life issues, teen pregnancy