The effects of teenage pregnancy on society and teen pregnancies are a planetary problem but occur most frequently in poorer and ignored communities. Many girls face significant insistence to marry early and become mothers while they are still a child.
Teenage pregnancy rises when girls are not allowed to make decisions around their sexual, reproductive health and well-being.
Girls should be capable to make their own decisions around their bodies and futures and have access to adequate healthcare services and education.
How common is teenage pregnancy?
Teenage pregnancy is when a woman 19 years of age or younger get pregnant. A woman may get pregnant if she has vaginal sex with a man at any age after she’s started having normal monthly periods.
Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)Trusted Source, in 2017, about 194,000 babies were born to American girls between the ages of 15 to 19.
While the number of teenage pregnancies in the United States has been in diminution, it still remains greater than in other industrialized countries.
why Focus on Teen Pregnancy?
The effects of teenage pregnancy on society are shown recently because of the increase of single-parent families in recent decades has been driven by an increment in births outside marriage. Divorce percentage have leveled off or declined modestly since the early 1980s and therefore have not attributed to the increasing proportion of children being raised by only one parent neither to the increment in child poverty and welfare dependence related to the increase in single-parent families.
Not all non-marital births are to teen-agers. In fact, 70% of all births outside marriage are to women over age 20. Therefore, some debate that sharpen on teens fails to treat the real problem and that much more attention requires to be given to preventing childbearing, or increasing marriage rates, among single women who have already begun their adult years.
But there are at least four reasons to concentrate on teenagers:
First, though a large number of non-marital births is to adult women, half of first non-marital births are to teens. Therefore, the pattern aims to begin in the teenage years, and, once teens have got a first child outside marriage, numerous go on to have more children out of wedlock at an older age. A number of initiatives aimed at protecting consequent births to adolescent mothers have been initiated but a couple have had much success. thus, if we want to protect out-of-wedlock accouchement and the increase of single-parent families, the teenage years are a good place to begin.
Second, teen childbearing is very expensive. Last 1997 research initiates by Rebecca Maynard of Mathematica Policy Research in Princeton, New Jersey, discovered that, after monitoring for divergences between teen mothers and mothers aged 20 or 21 when they had their first child, teen childbearing costs taxpayers more than $7 billion a year or $3,200 a year for each teenage birth, prudently estimated.
Third, though most of single mothers face major challenges in increasing their children alone, teen mothers are particularly deprived. They are probably dropped out of school and are fewer to be able to support themselves. Just one out of every five teen mothers obtains any support from their child’s father, and around 80% end up on welfare. Once on welfare, they are probably to remain there for a long time. In fact, half of all current liberal recipients had their first child as a teenager.
Some research advises that women who have children at an early age are no worse off than identical women who postpone childbearing. Based on this research, many of the disadvantages accumulating to early childbearers are associated to their own disadvantaged backgrounds. This study advises that it would be foolish to assign all of the problems faced by teen mothers to the timing of the birth per se. But even after covering features into account, other research documents that teen mothers are less likely to finish high school, less likely to ever marry, and more likely to have additional children outside marriage. Therefore, an early birth is not just a marker of preexisting problems but a barrier to consequent upward mobility. As Daniel Lichter of Ohio State University has demonstrated, even those unwed mothers who eventually marry end up with less winning partners than those who postpone childbearing. Consequently, even if married, these women face much higher rates of poverty and dependence on government support than those who avoid an early birth. And early marriages are much more likely to terminate in divorce. So marriage, while helpful, is no nostrum.
Fourth, the children of teen mothers confront far greater troubles than those born to older mothers. If the reason we care about stemming the increase of single-parent families is the results for children, and if the age of the mother is as essential as her marital status, then focusing entirely on marital status would be unwise. Not only are mothers who defer childbearing probably to marry, but with or without marriage, their children will be better off. The children of teen mothers are more likely than the children of older mothers to be born untimely at low birth weight and to suffer a various of health problems as a result. They are more likely to do poorly in school, to suffer higher rates of abuse and neglect, and to end up in foster care with all its attendant fees.
How Does Actual Welfare Law Address Teen Pregnancy and Non-Marital Births?
The welfare law enacted in 1996 contained a number provisions designed to decrease teen or out-of-wedlock childbearing including:
* A $50 million a year federal investment funds in abstinence education;
* A prerequisite that teen mothers accomplish high school or the equal and live at home or in another supervised setting;
* New measures to assure that paternity is established and child support paid;
* A $20 million reward for each of the 5 states with the best success in decreasing out-of-marriage births and abortions;
* A $1 billion performance bonus tied to the law’s goals, which include decreasing out-of-marriage pregnancies and encouraging the formation and maintenance of two-parent families;
* The flexibility for states to deny benefits to teen mothers or to mothers who have more children while on welfare (no state has adopted the first but 23 states have adopted the second);
* A prerequisite that states put goals and act to decrease out-of-marriage pregnancies, with particular focus on teen pregnancies.
Study attempting to establish a link between one or more of these provisions and teen out-of-marriage childbearing has, for the most part, failed to find a clear relationship. One exclusion is child support enforcement, which appears to have had a significant effect in deterring unwed childbearing.
Are Teen Pregnancies and Births Declining?
Teen pregnancy and birthrates have both declined dramatically in the 1990s. The fact that these declines predated the enactment of federal welfare reform advises that they were caused by other factors. However, it is worth noting that many states started to reform their welfare systems earlier in the decade under waivers from the federal government, so we may not be sure. In addition, the declines accelerated in the second half of the decade after welfare reform was enacted. And finally, the majority of the diminution in the early 1990s was the consequence of a decrease in second or higher order births to women who were already teen mothers. This decrease was associated in part to the popularity of new and more effective methods of birth control among this group. It was not until the second half of the decade that a considerable drop in first births to teenagers occurred.
Teen birthrates had also declined in the 1970s and early 1980s but in this earlier period all of the decline was due to raised abortion. Significantly, all of the teen birthrate decreases in the 1990s were due to fewer pregnancies, not additional abortions.
Equally considerable is the fact that teenagers are now having less sex. Up until the 1990s, unlike some progress in convincing teenagers to use contraception, teen pregnancy percentage continued to jump because an increasing number of teenagers were becoming sexually active at an early age, thus putting themselves at risk of pregnancy. Newly, both better contraceptive use and less sex have attributed to the lowering of rates.
Granted that four of five teen births are to an unmarried mother, this fall in the teen birthrate attributed to the leveling off of the proportion of children born out of marriage after 1994. Especially, if teen birthrates had held at the levels attained in the early 1990s, by 1999 this balance would have been more than a full percentage point higher. Thus, a focus on teenagers has a major role to play in future diminution of both out-of-wedlock childbearing and the growth of single-parent families.
Do Teen Pregnancy Prevention Programs Work?
The short answer is “yes, some do.” According to a cautious recap of the scholarly literature completed by Douglas Kirby of ETR Associates in Santa Cruz, California, a number of rigorously evaluated programs have been found to decrease pregnancy rates. Two of these programs have decreased rates by a half. One is a program that involves teenagers in community service with adult supervision and counseling. The other comprises a range of services like tutoring and career counseling across with sex education and reproductive health services. Both have been duplicated in various communities and evaluated by randomly assigning teens to a program and control group. Additionally, a number of less intense and less costly sex education programs have also been found to be effective in persuading teens to delay sex and/or use contraception. Such programs typically offer clear messages about the importance of abstaining from sex and/or using contraception, teach teens how to deal with peer pressure to have sex, and provide practice in communicating and negotiating with partners.
“Abstention only” efforts are comparably green and have not still been under a cautious examination, though what study exists has not been promotive. More essentially, the line between abstinence only and more comprehensive sex education that advocates abstinence but also teaches about contraception is increasingly blurred. What matters is not so much the label but instead what a particular program includes, what the teacher believes, and how that plays out in the classroom. A solid abstinence message is totally consistent with public principles, but the idea that the federal government can, or should, rigidly prescribe what goes on in the classroom through detailed curricular guidelines makes little sense. Family and community principles, not a federal mandate, should prevail, especially in an area as sensitive as this one.
These steps have the potential to maintain the progress made over the past decade in decreasing teen and out-of-wedlock pregnancies. There are just two solutions to the problem of childbearing outside marriage. One is to encourage early marriage. The other is to encourage delayed pregnancy until marriage. Though commonplace as recently as the 1950s, early marriage is no longer a sensible strategy in a society where decent jobs increasingly need a high level of education and where half of teen marriages end in divorce. If we want to assure that more children grow up in stable two-parent families, we should first assure that more women reach adulthood before they get children.