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Teen Pregnancy

Paola Hernandez, Reporter

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   According to DoSomething.org, there are nearly 750,000 teen pregnancies in America each year.

   In Texas, 35,000 teens get pregnant per year, and in Garland there are about 53. The birth rate in teens since the 1990s has dropped nearly 50 percent, but are still out of control.

   Teen pregnancy refers to a young woman under the age of 20 who gets pregnant unintentionally. Typically when a teenager is pregnant, there are many things that change in the young mother’s life, along with the father’s. Young mothers may drop out of school to keep up with their child, or choose to attend school and take care of their parental duties at the same time. Not only can their education be affected, but their social lives, their financial status and their maturity levels as well.

North Garland nurses Jack Buck and Dawn Sexton typically don’t deal with the pregnancies of teenage students, but when they do, the amount of responsibility that they see being carried in the girls is surreal.

“At this age, they’re not prepared for it, but they have to learn. Fortunately, a lot of the kids do have parents or grandparents that step up and try to help.” Sexton said.

According to Livestrong.com, some of the factors that lead to teen pregnancy include peer pressure, absent parents and teenagers’ lack of knowledge about sex.

“From my experience, the kids that don’t have clear set goals and go throughout their daily lives thinking, ‘I can do whatever I want,’ those are the kids at greatest risk,” Buck said. “You almost get a perfect storm going on when you have someone whose life is filled with shades of gray and doesn’t have clear, defined goals in their life. Combine that with lack of positive mentorship and/or parental involvement, and it’s a perfect storm.”

Even with birth control, having sex isn’t completely safe because condoms and birth control pills have significant failure rates. According to Rewire.news, in typical use condoms have a 15 percent failure rate, and birth control pills have a 5 percent failure rate, depending on the type of pill being used. Therefore, when birth control fails or isn’t used, unintentional pregnancy occurs.

“The future goals [of the teen] take a shift, because once they graduate they receive pressure from parents and grandparents to then support themselves,” Buck said. “Well to do that and to raise a child, going to college is near impossible. It’s not impossible, but it’s pretty darn close. So then they’re thrust into having to work, and they quickly discover how expensive trying to support yourself and a child is. Then they may or not graduate, and if they don’t, it just kind of stalemates, because to get a kind of job that they want to support their family, they need more education. Without that education, they’re just left there in a difficult situation.”

There are many things that can be done to prevent teenage pregnancy. Abstinence, condoms and birth control pills are only some of the things that prevent it. Abstinence is the restraint from indulging in things that involve self-pleasure. Although abstinence doesn’t necessarily have to be about sexual activity, and can also be for alcohol or food, it is a common topic when referring to sex. If abstinence isn’t conformed to, then condoms, pills, or other birth control items should be used to prevent unintentional pregnancy.

“My most important advice is finish school and set goals,” Sexton said. “Seek Higher education after graduation, be responsible, and make good choices.”

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