As of 2010, teen pregnancies double each year. With teens continually bombarded with sex-focused music, TV shows, and movies alongside the idealized reality of real-life teen pregnancy shows; it is no wonder why this epidemic is occurring. Behind the curtains of these scripted lives lies the unknown truth about teenage pregnancy.
Having a child in high school presents many obstacles for parents. First, 70% of teen parents don’t stay together, which puts the child in a broken home. Then there is the fact that more than half of new teen mothers are not even old enough to apply for Medicaid or work full time. Teen mothers are generally forced to drop out of school and 87% never finish high school or go to college. It can be impossible to find a high-paying job without an education, and the cost of caring for a child for more than 18 years is more than most teens realize before choosing to have a baby.
Most teen pregnancies are unplanned, but the reason for the staggering pregnancy rate is puzzling to everyone. Currently, middle schools teach sex education starting in the fifth grade. Condoms are provided free of charge through local health clinics and pregnancy planning clinics. These facilities will also offer free or low-cost contraceptive methods to adolescents from the age of 14. With so many free options, why are teenage girls still having unplanned pregnancies at an astonishing rate? The truth is that education is lacking on the home front. Parents depend on schools to teach their children, and the result is that many do not listen. It is up to parents to talk to their children about sex and birth control options.
If you encounter an unplanned pregnancy, there are many options to consider. Some families will happily support their children if pregnancy occurs, however, it is still the responsibility of the adolescent to provide for her child. Failure to do so could result in loss of custody of the state. The guidelines are different for each state, but the end result is always the same. Adoption is a second option for prospective parents. There is a long process that includes a psychological evaluation before a young couple can offer their child for adoption. There are two forms of adoption, open and closed. Open adoption allows birth parents to receive photos and letters from adoptive parents, while closed adoption eliminates all contact. Finally, adolescent girls can choose to have an abortion up to the second trimester. This process is painful and expensive, but it may be the best option in some circumstances. A clinic nurse can discuss the various options with teen parents and it is recommended that they speak with a counselor before making final decisions about their babies’ future.