I’ve been reading this article today that addresses the teen pregnancy issue and offers a solution: Give disadvantaged young girls options and purpose.
For all the noise and clatter about encouraging abstinence or handing out condoms in schools, many close to the issue are convinced that teenage pregnancy is less a matter of morals or sex education or access to birth control than it is a matter of a girl — or boy — feeling that they have a future. Or not.
“Simply put, girls with prospects do not have babies. It is not just the disadvantaged, but the ‘discouraged among the disadvantaged’ who become teen mothers,” Janet Rich-Edwards, a Harvard epidemiologist, wrote in the International Journal of Epidemiology.
Some even theorize that many teenage girls don’t have babies despite being poor. They have babies because they are poor. Teen pregnancy is well established as a cause of poverty. It may also be a result of poverty.
Lisa Piscopo, a Colorado Children’s Campaign researcher, said she suspects many teen pregnancies among disadvantaged kids aren’t accidents.
“I believe girls choose to have babies when they don’t have a vision of any other options,” she said.
That’s something we should all agree on. While I don’t adhere completely to some of the articles’ finer points, it seems, at least in Colorado, people are finally addressing the why behind teenage pregnancy instead of focusing solely on the how. It continues,
In 2009, a University of Chicago study reported that by age 17, one-third of young women in foster care reported having been pregnant. By age 19, that proportion had risen to nearly half. The study’s author, Amy Dworsky, found that as many as one third of girls interviewed for the study said they wanted to become pregnant. It’s likely, Dworsky told a congressional panel in 2009, that those girls want “to create the family they don’t have or fill an emotional void.”[…]
“And they’ll ask, ‘Why wait? Wait for what? I’m not going to college.’ “