After ten years of the declining rates of teen pregnancy, the rates have been increasing since 2006 and continue to rise (http://www.wkrn.com/Global/story.asp?S=11881305). Experts say that many factors may lead to the rising rate of teenage pregnancy, some of which include: media, lack of adequate education, family background, and geographic location. The high rate of teenage pregnancy in the United States can also be because of several other factors that include, the development of sexual maturity earlier than emotional maturity, and the proper education regarding sexual relationships among teenagers, STI’s, and pregnancy preventative techniques (http://www.healthline.com/adamcontent/adolescent-pregnancy). Compared to other industrialized countries, the United States has the highest rates of teenage pregnancy. In 2002, there were over 750,000 teen pregnancies in the United States including 215,000 teen abortions (www.4parents.gov); eight in ten of these pregnancies were unintended and 81% of these teens were unmarried (www.livestrong.com). Without contraception, a teenager has a ninety percent chance of getting pregnant within one year of continuing sexual activity. Teenagers who grow up in poverty, drop out of school, begin dating at an early age, have few friends and no social support system and have no future goals for oneself, begin use of drugs and and/or alcohol at an early age, have a mother who was a teenage mother, or live in a community where early parenthood is accepted are more likely to become teenage parents (http://www.healthline.com/adamcontent/adolescent-pregnancy).
In recent years, teenage pregnancy has been thrust into the spotlight and is no longer seen as a taboo subject. Teenagers often receive misinterpreted or misleading messages from the media. With television shows, such as 16 and Pregnant and The Secret Life of the American Teenager, young celebrities, such as Jamie Spears, and other predominant people in the media, such as Bristol Palin, the creation of a teenage pregnancy “fad” has swept our nation.
Thought Provoking Questions:
1. What are your current thoughts on teen pregnancy?
2. Do you think the media has a positive or negative effect on society and its views on teen pregnancy?
3. In your opinion, why do you think the teen pregnancy rates continue to rise?
4. Do you think that there are adequate services that help teenage parents?
5. Do you have any personal experience (you or a friend/ acquaintance) with teenage pregnancy? What are your thoughts about it?
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