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New York, NY- Throughout May (National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month), Planned Parenthood is encouraging teens to think about their goals and plan for their future so that they can make healthy decisions about their lives and families. Parents can help their teens consider plans for the future and the impact that unplanned pregnancy could have on those plans, and help them set short-term goals to reach their long-term goals.

Sex education and access to family planning services are critical in helping teens avoid unintended pregnancy and keep themselves healthy. The U.S. has reached the lowest rate of unintended pregnancy in 30 years, the rate of pregnancy among teens in the country has reached a historic low, and more young people are delaying sexual activity and using birth control when they do have sex. A recent report by Child Trends showed that increasing the use of highly effective contraception reduces unintended pregnancy, and the Guttmacher Institute found the recent decline in pregnancy among teens is due to improved contraceptive use.

“Planned Parenthood is proud to provide sex education and health care services that help teens determine their future and prevent both unintended pregnancies and STDs,” said Dr. Leslie Kantor, vice president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “We know firsthand how crucial it is for parents to talk with their teens about their goals for the future as well as preventing pregnancy and STDs by consistently using both birth control and condoms. We know that when teens and parents have open, honest conversations with each other about relationships and sex, teens are more likely to make healthy decisions.”

Research shows that teens who report having good conversations with their parents about sex wait longer before having sex and are more likely to use condoms and other birth control methods when they do become sexually active. Parents can help teens wait until they are ready to have sex by giving them resources on the negotiation, communication, and refusal skills they need to delay sex until they are older.

Planned Parenthood offers resources, guidance, and encouragement to teens and parents to help them have conversations about relationships and sex. Resources for parents at PlannedParenthood.org/Parents include educational videos in English and Spanish, tip sheets, and guidance for talking with children of all ages about a variety of topics, including setting boundaries, helping teens delay sex, parenting LGBTQ kids, and more.

“All young people deserve the sex education and access to health care they need to stay healthy, as well as support from their families, schools, and communities to set goals for their future and decide for themselves if and when they want to become a parent,” Kantor added. “Pregnant and parenting teens deserve the resources and information they need to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. ”

As the nation’s largest provider of sex education, Planned Parenthood works in schools and communities across the country to provide quality sex education programs. We work every day to reach teens with education about sexual health, communication skills, and relationships so they can make healthy decisions. Each year, Planned Parenthood provides education and outreach to 1.5 million people of all ages across the U.S. and to millions more online.  

Planned Parenthood also offers nine interactive digital tools designed to help young people stay healthy and better plan for their futures. Fast Forward and What’s Your Future Plan? help teens set goals for the future. My Birth Control helps teens who want to prevent pregnancy figure out which contraceptive methods might work best for them. They can also find information and submit questions on our Tumblr, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram pages or live-chat or text (774636) a health educator for instant support.

We also have videos to model healthy communication for young people around consent as well as safer sex and STDs.

Planned Parenthood Global, the international arm of PPFA, partners with more than 100 organizations across Africa and Latin America to help advance the health and rights of young people, women, and families with an emphasis on the most vulnerable and underserved. In 2014, Planned Parenthood Global partners reached more than one million people with sexual and reproductive health information and services, including over 48,000 people served through our youth peer providers.