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New Poll of Latinos in the U.S. Shows Overwhelming Support For Sex Education and Access to Birth Control to Reduce Teen Pregnancy

Planned Parenthood Kicks Off National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month with Data Showing that Latinos See Reducing Teen Pregnancy as a Major Priority

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Planned Parenthood Federation of America

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New York — New polling shows that Latinos in the U.S. believe that addressing teen pregnancy is a major priority — an even higher concern within their own communities than for other groups — and that access to birth control and sex education are critical. 

 The poll was released by Planned Parenthood and the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH) at the Silver School of Social Work at New York University to launch National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, which runs through May. It surveyed 1,120 Latinos living in the U.S., aged 18 to 92.

 Key highlights of the poll include:

•Eighty-seven percent of Latinos surveyed said it is very important for teens to avoid getting pregnant or causing a pregnancy.

•Fifty-one percent said avoiding teen pregnancy is even more important for Latinos than it is for other groups.

•Latinos in the survey overwhelmingly said that addressing teen pregnancy is a shared responsibility among parents, schools, the government, religion, and the media. 

•Latinos support comprehensive sex education in high schools that includes topics such as sexually transmitted diseases (97 percent), healthy relationships (94 percent), abstinence (92 percent), birth control (91 percent), and sexual orientation (82 percent).

•One-third of respondents said that Latino teens have less access to birth control than other Americans.

 “This new data is a roadmap for addressing teen pregnancy nationwide,” said Leslie Kantor, vice president, education, at Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “The data clearly shows that Latinos see teen pregnancy as a major issue, that they believe we all have a role to play to address it, and that they see access to birth control and comprehensive sex education in both middle and high school as critical.” 

 Teen pregnancy has declined since it peaked in 1990. In fact, recent data on teen birth shows it to be at the lowest level in recorded history. Despite declines, Latina teens give birth at a rate more than twice that of white non-Latina teens, and Latina teens are 1.5 times more likely than white non-Latina teen moms to have a repeat teen birth. Four in ten Latina teens will experience at least one pregnancy before the age of 20.

 "This poll is important because there’s been so little focus on Latino attitudes toward a problem that affects them disproportionately,” said Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, co-director of CLAFH and a professor at NYU's Silver School of Social Work. “What we found was a broad agreement that teen pregnancy needs to be addressed and the ways in which that can be done.”

 “Twenty-three percent of the nearly three million patients a year who rely on Planned Parenthood for birth control, cancer screenings, and other preventive care are Latino, and 32 percent of our sex education participants are Latino,” said Cecile Richards, CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “We take seriously our shared responsibility and are proud to partner with Latino families and community leaders to help prevent teen pregnancy.”

 Starting October 1, people will begin enrolling in new health insurance programs under the Affordable Care Act — which includes coverage for birth control without a co-pay. Thousands of Latinos will be newly eligible for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Teenagers will be covered under their parents’ health insurance plans. 

 In the data released today, nearly half of Latinos said that they believe Latino teens have less access to health insurance than other teenagers. However, one-third of survey respondents also said they aren’t sure how their own access to health care will change under the Affordable Care Act. 

Over the summer, Planned Parenthood will launch an awareness campaign in all 50 states to help all women learn more about the eligibility for health coverage under the Affordable Care Act, how to enroll, the benefits such as no co-pay birth control, and how to ensure that Planned Parenthood is covered in their new health plan. 

Published

April 25, 2013

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New Poll of Latinos in the U.S. Shows Overwhelming Support For Sex Education and Access to Birth Control to Reduce Teen Pregnancy