Teen Pregnancy 3 Essay, Research Paper
Teen pregnancy has become such an issue facing America that President Clinton has addressed the issue. Statistics show that every two minutes a teenager gives birth in the United States (Guernsey 6). This means that at least three thousand teenage girls become pregnant everyday and almost one millione teenagers become pregnant every year (www.teenpregnancy.org). Four in ten teenage girls become pregnant at least once before they reach the age of twenty. Because of this high number, the United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in all of the industrialized world. In New York state alone, 61,700 teenagers become pregant each year, ranking New York number forty two in the U.S. However only 22,197 of those teenagers go on to have the baby, leaving New York number fourteen in teenagers having a baby every year (www.teenpregnancy.org). In the U.S. more than 500,000 teens keep their babies, 100,000 put them up for a doption, and 450,000 choose to have an abortion (Gutman 7).
Sadly, pregnant teenagers in society today are too often labeled as sluts . While the majority of gilrs become pregnant by accident, a small number become pregnant on purpose. These girls feel that they will be loved, or have someone to love, or that a missing void in their ife will be filled. Worst of all some girls plan to become pregnant to heal a relationship or to hold on to a boyfriend. The fact is, if two people are in a unstable, struggling relationship, having baby will just bring on more stress and turmoil. For the other girls who become pregnant by accident this is due to carelessness, lack of knowledege, the it can t happen to me attitude, or just really by accident. For many girls, they are under the false pretense thatthey cannot become pregnant the first time they have sex. Not only is this false, but one out of twenty girls become pregnant the first time they have sex, and ninty percent of all teen pregancies occur within the first year of having sex (Guernsey 19-20).
Pregnancy is a very serious situation for teenagers, because young teenage bodies are not developed enough then the bodies of women who are over twenty. Due to this, the death rate is sixty percent higher among pregnant teenagers under the age of fifteen than among older girls and women (Gutman 24). Babies born to teenagers are twice as likely to die before their first birthdays than are the babies that are born to women in thier twenties,also teenage babies run a hihger risk of being born premature or being born with mental and physical handicaps (Gutman 25). Some teenagers are afraid to tell someone about their situation, so they do not get pre-natal care which harms both the mother and the baby.
When a teenager finds out that she is pregnant, she has three choices: give it up for adoption, keep it, or have an abortion. A large number of these teens choose to have an abortion. Twenty five percent of all abortions are among the teen age population (Bender and Leone 58). For many girls this is an easy way out of a difficult situation and they feel that know one will know that they do not want to know. For some those feelings stay true, but for others a deep sense of depression falls over them for killing something that they made. For other girls that choose not to keep the baby but are against abortion, they give the baby up for adoption. For many girls adoption is a stressful and heart breaking experience, after carrying a baby for nine months and then handing it over to strangers, I don t see how it wouldn t be a heart breaking time. There are agencies that allow mothers to keep in touch with the family, but most girls know that they will never see there baby again. For other girls, they may make all the arrangements for adoption and then after giving birth may change their minds completly and take on their motherly role.
For the teens that keep the baby,they encounter a very challenging situation. They have to get proper health care for example. Many girls are forced to drop out of school and get jobs or the father of the baby drops out of school to support his family, if he stays with the mother. Less than one third of teens who have babies finish school before the age of eighteen (www.teenpregnancy.org). Once a teenager has a baby they have to focus on someone other than themselves, which means they can not do what they want when they want anymore. Their lives revolve around their baby and its needs. Many unmarried teen mothers end up poor or on welfare. Every year the federal government spends about forty billion dollars to help teenage mothers (Flinn & Hauser 15). However for some teenagers watching their baby grow or the bond that they share is a reward for their hard work.
An often over looked part of teenage pregnancy is the role of the father. About 1.1 million males father babies every year (Ayer 27). Approximately ten percent of fathers marry the mother of their baby. Some fathers care for their baby and pay child support but do not stay with the mother, or sadly some fathers refuse resposibility and do not give support in any way. A fatherly role is very important in child raising, so some communities and schools are now starting programs for teenage fathers and educating boys about teenage pregnancy. Many teen fathers may at first feel out of place, scared, and not educated enough to become a father. They may feel that a whole financial burden is now being placed on them, or that they will not be able to provide for their family. This leads to many fathers skipping out on their responsibility. Programs are now being designed to give fathers emotional support so that they will be able to handle becoming a teenage father, and to realize that there are benefits and obligations of fatherhood. As the article states the benefits to children, families, and society of the commitment of fathers are undisputed. Therefore, it is worth the time and effort of schools and community organizations to implement programs for young fathers that will enable them to develop into responsible adults, meet thier obligations, and create a generation of well-nutured and effectively educated children (www.ed.gov.html).
For the unfortunate teen that has no support there a teen pregnancy houses that house both mother and child. Many clinics such as Planned Parenthood give free or low cost care to mother and child and offer services to help ease the teens time of confusion. Community-wide teen pregnancy prevention efforts are also underway (Dryfoos 214). The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregancy was organized in 1996 and is focused on reducing the rate of teen pregnany in the United States,to improve the well being of children and to try to reduce child poverty.
In conclusion, teen pregnancy is an issue that should be taken seriously. With the growing rate of teenagers getting pregnant every year more steps should be taken to try to eliminate teen pregnancy. Perhaps these steps should be educating children while their younger or a better sense of birth control for teens or showning pictures of abortions, like they did in my high school. This may be cruel, but how many people who see the pictures will want to get this done after they see what it does.Teenagers are using abortions as a way of birth control , they feel that if they become pregnant there is always an abortion. Abortions can not be like that. If more teens are serioulsy educated then possibly less teens will be careless and the rate of pregnany will decrease. It might sound ridiculous, but maybe parents should really give the birds and the bees talk , because if children hear it from their parents they may take sex more seriously. Some children have sex to feel cool or just to fit in. It cannot be like that and children need to be taught that.Teen pregnancy is a serious risk for both the mother and the child. Many teenagers do not know about these risks and they need to know before it is to late and they are stuck in a situtaion that they can not get out of. The programs for teen fathers are wonderful because they really tell the boys how it is. Many boys do not know the risk of pregnancy and everything that it entails, these prograns will help to work with them and possibly scare them or at least give them a little more knowledge. Having a baby will change a teens whole life and the steps that are being taken will hopefully work to help teen mothers and fathers and help to lower the birth rate in teens. There is many books out that show cases of teen pregnancy, they should be read to get to know the effects that a baby has on a teens life. With the statistics and facts givin, I really learned so much on teen pregancy and hopefully others will to.