Teen Pregnancy: A Preventable Public Health Care Crisis

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), September 7, 2008 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Teen Pregnancy: A Preventable Public Health Care Crisis


There was Juno. There was Gloucester. There was Jamie Lynn Spears. And now, once again teen pregnancy has captured the attention of the media all across the country. Unfortunately, the media hype glamorizes an issue that is anything but glamorous.

As the mother of two teenagers, I recognize the real struggles families face keeping their kids healthy and safe.

Teen pregnancy happens to hundreds of thousands of girls each year from Bangor to San Antonio to Fresno. And, for the vast majority of these teens, the pregnancy was not planned. Most of these teens find themselves unexpectedly pregnant without the financial - or familial - resources to become a parent.

At Planned Parenthood health centers across the country, we see these teens, and their families, every single day. Last year, we provided sexuality education to 1.2 million teens and adults. And we see firsthand their struggle - their struggle to stay healthy, to make responsible decisions, to succeed in life.

This year alone, it is estimated that 750,000 teenage girls in the U.S. will become pregnant. That is more than 12 times the number of people diagnosed with AIDS in 2008 and more than the total number of people expected to die from some type of cancer this year. Put another way, 11 percent of all U.S. births are to teens.

What do these numbers tell us? First, whether we approve or not, our teens are having sex. By the time they turn 19, seven in ten teenagers have had sex at least once. And second, it tells us that when they have sex, they are not using protection.

But there's more: Pregnancy isn't the only consequence. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four teen girls has a sexually transmitted infection. The consequences of their actions can follow them for a lifetime. If that does not constitute a public health crisis, I don't know what does.

As parents, as a country, we don't want our kids to become parents when they aren't finished being children themselves. America's teenage girls and boys should be allowed to have their childhood; there is more than enough time for them in the future to bear the other responsibilities of adulthood and be parents. Parenting is too important to be left to chance. And the fact is that it doesn't have to be.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Teen Pregnancy: A Preventable Public Health Care Crisis


Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?