Abstract Repeatable abuse and neglect of teenage mothers ·

Abstract

Americans
are known to lead in many aspects of the world compared to other countries. One
starts to wonder how wonderful is the American dream if we are known to fall
behind in education and more importantly have the highest rate of teen
pregnancy amongst all nations. United States is a developed countries with
access to many resources and technology. Although, it may seem as if pregnancy
will be easy with support, it is quite the opposite especially as an adolescent.
Teenage pregnancy is a public health concern because it is a common,
preventable issue in most of the states that also carries an undesirable
stigma.   

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Introduction

Teenage pregnancy and
lack of education, finance, and support are key factors creating a disadvantage
lifestyle for these adolescents (Furstenburg, 2010). Unplanned pregnancies can drastically change a person’s
environment, goals, along with their physical, mental, emotional, and social
well-being. These are all factors that can lead to depression if circumstances aren’t
aligned from the beginning. Taxpayers spend an estimated amount of $950
million dollars for teenage births yearly (National Abortion Federation, 2010).
Billions of taxpayer dollars are spent every year to care and support teenage
births. Teen Birth rates are lowest in the Northeast and upper Midwest and
highest across the Southern states (Culp-Ressler, 2012). Therefore,
implementing an in depth, comprehensive sex education class covering parenting
in schools will allow teens to fully understand the consequences of having
protected or unprotected sex that often leads to unsafe sex practices. These
issues usually stem from having lack of knowledge on the topic and decrease
access to sex education, contraceptives, and birth control (Culp-Ressler, 2012).
Sexual risky behaviors can lead to getting pregnant and/or obtaining sexually
transmitted infections that are either treatable or incurable. The Guttmacher
Institute (2013) say that risks of teenage pregnancy include:

·        
Low
birth weight, early delivery or death of the infant

·        
Repeatable
abuse and neglect of teenage mothers

·        
History
of teenage mothers being a product of adolescent

·        
Poverty
and high rates of dropping out of school

·        
Repeat
Pregnancy

The United States has a
higher rate of teen pregnancy than other countries because one is not open to
talk about sex with a child once puberty occurs. Children are being introduced
to puberty at a much younger age today. Many different things can contribute to
girls having an earlier onset of puberty. Study shows girls who are obese have
a higher chance of puberty coming earlier than girls that are not obese (Mangel,
2010). Puberty is a time in a girl’s and boy’s life that changes them physically
and mentally with thoughts of exploring their sexual behaviors. Since young
girls are starting their menstrual cycles earlier, it is the perfect time to
have the safe sex talk with them. The time for educating teens about safe sex
or no sex is suggested to start earlier than before. Teenagers are most likely
to seek sexual information from their friends rather than their parents due to
judgment or disappointment (Mangel, 2010). Therefore, it is important to keep
trust and open communication to avoid assumptions about what teenagers know
about sexual education. Adequate sex education is needed in today’s school
curriculum in order to aid in the fight against teen pregnancy.

Research has found an
association between exposure of sexual content on TV and teen pregnancy that
consists of 56% of sexual content (Rochman, 2012). The realities of teen
pregnancy is being publicized all over TV and the internet, with shows such as the
Secret Life of the American Teenager, Teen Mon, 16 & Pregnant, Maury, Juno
and more. All of these shows portray the good and bad aspects of teenage pregnancy
along with some exaggerations. According to Rochman (2012), 15% of teenagers
said that these shows displayed an altered reality that teen pregnancy is easy,
and it glamorized teen parenthood. However, 82% said it helped them understand
the challenges of teen pregnancy. They watched as some people ended up as
single parents, gave their babies up for adoption, had abortions, etc., all due
to various variables. Teens expressed that they thought pregnancy would be harder
after the show. These shows and movies also provides informational resources
for teenagers on how to prevent mothers and children from homelessness, foster
care, and the juvenile system.

Despite of sex education
programs, condoms have been found to help prevent pregnancy. In 1995, condom
use among 15-19 years old prevented an estimated 1.65 million pregnancies in
the United States (Mangel, 2010). While the majority of teens have used
contraception in the past, most are using condoms or pills. Alarmingly, half of
teens who are having sex are not using contraception and most experienced
contraceptive failure due to incorrect or inconsistent use or using less
effective methods, such as just condoms alone or pills (Culp-Ressler, 2012).
The most common reason that teenagers did not use contraception was because
they thought that they could not get pregnant. Almost 25% stated that their
partner did not want to use contraception, which likely was a condom.