One in every ten new mothers in the US is a teenage mother. Did you know that the US has the highest rate of teenage pregnancy in the entire developing world? With 745,000 girls under the age of 20 getting pregnant each year, what is happening in the US that is perpetuating this problem?
The rate of teen pregnancies in developing countries is much higher and expectedly so. There is a lack of sex health education and birth control options like condoms and contraceptives. In the United States though, there are numerous ways and places to get condoms and birth control pills, for free in some cases. And high school curriculums include sex ed for senior students.
Safe sex is promoted by a number of organizations including Planned Parenthood. But for some strange over $38 billion taxpayer dollars are still going to support and fund teen childbearing.
Fifty-nine percent of teenage girls who get pregnant welcome their pregnancy and decide to have their baby. Teen pregnancies are more common in some cultural backgrounds and the pregnancy is celebrated and embraced.
Fortunate teen moms have the support of family and friends and enjoy all the milestones that accompany a pregnancy. Like finding out the baby’s gender and choosing a name, the baby shower and so on.
The most popular method of teaching sex education in the United States is by promoting abstinence and virginity pledges. A study from Yale and Columbia found though that 88-percent of youth that pledge abstinence end up having premarital sex anyway.
The countries that have the lowest teen birth rates are the countries that advocate sex health education, open communication and sex reproduction.
Paternity Tests Shift the Role of Fatherhood
It is apparent that the times have changed since the 1950s when the nuclear family dominated American neighborhoods of suburbia and white picket fences. The once defined roles of men and women in society and in their families have since been broken.
Women are no longer designated to the homes and men are no longer the only sources of income for the family.
The one factor that hasn’t changed is the social stigma that accompanies teen pregnancies. Forty-percent of births are out of marriage. And nearly 80-percent of fathers of children born to teenage parents do not get married.
Many teenage dads demand paternity tests to prove their paternity. The newest and risk-free prenatal test, the Non-invasive Prenatal Paternity Test, analyzes circulating cell-free fetal DNA in the mother’s blood to narrow down paternity.
Paternity often becomes an issue in court when biological fathers refuse to pay child support or deny their responsibility. This is when DNA and genetic testing is ordered by the courts.
One of the most difficult decisions a pregnant woman will ever have to make, teenager or adult, is the decision to go through with an abortion. In America, 27-percent of teen pregnancies end in abortion.
A child’s chance of growing up in poverty is nine times greater than other children if the following three factors are true: they were a teenage pregnancy, their parents were not married and their mother has no high school diploma or GED.
Unfortunately those socioeconomic factors are prominent in teen pregnancies. In recent years to try and prevent teenage pregnancies the government has made more initiatives to provide sexual education about reproduction and STDs especially in inner city neighborhoods.
Why do you think the US has the highest rate of teen pregnancies among developed countries? And what can we do to change that?
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