Posted: Thursday, May 17, 2012 5:59:39 PM
Statistics from the CDC report teen pregnancies are at their lowest. Though there are still a high number of births to teen parents, this latest reporting gives hope to our society where teen pregnancies put a dent in our wallet. So what epiphany did teens finally have? It’s a combination of firmer parenting, busier schedules, shows such as “Teen Mom” on television, personal experiences, and better access to contraceptives. As long as teens can relate to at least one of the above reasons, long live low teen pregnancy rates! From my personal observations, teen pregnancies at my high school are prevented due to better access to contraceptives, relationships, and a realization that having sex doesn’t make you “cool.”
Most of my peers first have sex as underclassman in high school. They feel pressured to fit in, be seen as older and more mature, and are therefore more susceptible to have sex with the seemingly “cool” junior and senior boys on campus. But what those girls later realize is that it doesn’t make them look “cool” to be used for sex. Reputations are ruined and rumors are spread. To avoid giving yourself a bad name, it just makes sense to avoid sex. I think this has helped lower teen pregnancies. If the equation teen girls plus sex equals a promiscuous reputation, then sex and anything related to it will be avoided.
Another trend on my high school campus are couples. Being in a relationship may mean a higher chance of having sex, but it also means better communication. Almost every couple at my school are joined at the hip. Through their good communication, they’ve agreed to use birth control, they go to Planned Parenthood together, or they just don’t have sex. I believe being in a healthy relationship helps lower teen pregnancy. I emphasize on the word healthy because sometimes bad relationships can lead teen girls into this mentality that “the baby will make him stay with me.” By being involved in a healthy relationship, it not only decreases teen pregnancies, but it also limit’s the spread of sexual diseases and infections because you are only sexually active with one person.
Lastly, I believe teen pregnancy preventions owe a lot to better access to contraceptives. If it weren’t for Planned Parenthood or the Plan B pill, I think half of my graduating class would be pregnant. Planned Parenthood offers teen girls cheap or free birth control, Plan B pills, and condoms. This convenient access may enable and encourage teens to have sex, but at least it encourages them to have safe sex. Improved access to contraceptives are also demonstrated by grocery store pharmacies selling Plan B to anyone 17 years old and older and colleges having Plan B vending machines on their campuses. Pregnancy is the leading cause of girls dropping out of school, so by colleges putting these vending machines on their campus, it encourages girls to continue their education.
The low rates of teen pregnancies reflect on the better decisions that teens are making. Even if they are having sex, they are choosing to have safe sex. Many factors play into the prevention of teen pregnancies, and as long as each teen can connect with at least one of them, then the CDC will enjoy recording the increasingly decreasing teen pregnancy rates.