[Wilmington, DE] — On the heels of a new study showing a rise in teenage pregnancy rates, Planned Parenthood of Delaware (PPDE) is urging policymakers and parents to make comprehensive, age-appropriate sex education a priority in local communities. The Guttmacher Institute (www.guttmacher.org) study ranks Delaware #6 in per capita pregnancies. This increase follows steady declines in teen pregnancy and birth rates since the early 1990’s.
“Unfortunately, after more than twenty years of progress in reducing the rate of teenage pregnancy, we are witnessing an increase in the number of teens pregnant,” said Dr. Judith Herrman, RN, University of Delaware, and Chair of the Delaware Teen Pregnancy Prevention Advisory Board. “Preventing teen pregnancy is vital. We know that teen pregnancy significantly increases school drop out rates, poverty, and poor health outcomes for mother and child. We must do more.”
“This study should serve as a wake-up call to anyone who still believes that teenagers aren’t sexually active or that offering traditional abstinence-only education programs curbs the rate of teen pregnancy,” added Nanci Hoffman, President & CEO, of PPDE. “Research shows that when youth are educated on sexual health; and parents are involved; unwanted pregnancies are prevented.”
Delaware and the nation are also facing a crisis in the alarming rate of sexually transmitted infections among our young people. One out of every two sexually active young people will have a sexually transmitted infection by the age of 25.
“Good health starts with good information,” said Dr. Catherine Dukes, PhD, Vice President for Education and Training for PPDE. “Now more than ever, we must ensure that our teenagers receive medically accurate, age-appropriate sex education that gives them the tools to make responsible decisions about their health.”
Planned Parenthood of Delaware applauds President Obama, members of Congress, and the State Department of Education who have recognized that traditional abstinence-only programs do not work, and for investing in medically accurate, age-appropriate sex education for teenagers. This reverses the trend of years of federal government investments in abstinence-only education. But stopping the trend of increased teen age pregnancy will take time. More must done to invest in comprehensive sex education as it is key to reducing unintended teen pregnancies.
The mission of PPDE is to ensure the right of all individuals to access the appropriate information and the services necessary to make and act on personal decisions related to their own reproduction, sexuality and health. Planned Parenthood provides family planning, prenatal care, abortion, cancer screening and prevention, health education, and more. The agency serves all three counties, has operated in Delaware for over 75 years, and serves over 11,000 clients a year.