If we want to see a decline in the teen pregnancy rate, we have to deal with the root cause — teen sexual activity.
According to government website www.4parents.gov, “Getting involved in unhealthy risks can lead to educational, health, and emotional problems. Unhealthy risks include alcohol, drug, and tobacco use sex, and violence.... Teens who have sex are at high risk for pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.”
As a community, we have clearly stated that we expect teens to avoid drug and alcohol use. We have not wavered even though there are teens who still engage in these behaviors. What do we expect of teens when it comes to sex? Some approaches seek to reduce the risk of the behavior. Do we apply this same line of thinking to substance abuse?
The issue of teen pregnancy is linked to other social issues including the school dropout rate. With so much at stake, can we afford to have a casual attitude toward teen sexual activity?
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As a community, we must acknowledge that teen sexual activity is high-risk behavior. Then we will begin to make serious progress in tackling the high rate of teen pregnancies in our community.
Avonte Jackson, Executive Director, Tri-Cities Pregnancy Network