Local Youth, Community Leaders, and Parents Highlight New Teen Pregnancy Rates and Need for Sex Education
Houston, TX - As part of this year’s National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month (May), Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast and Planned Parenthood Federation of America hosted an interactive round-table discussion and Q&A session on teen pregnancy last night in Houston. Local youth joined parents, educators, community leaders, and celebrity guests to discuss teen pregnancy prevention and hear personal experiences of teen pregnancy and parenting.
The event was hosted by comedian and DJ Amanda Seales, and featured celebrity stylist and creative director Emily B from VH1, who discussed her own experience as a teen mother and mother of a teenage daughter.
According to a Guttmacher Institute report released this month, rates of teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion have declined dramatically in the U.S. at both state and national levels. However, while the continuing decline in teen pregnancy in this country is good news, the report also shows remaining disparities between different states and different racial and ethnic minorities. Texas has the third-highest teenage pregnancy rate in the country.
“When it comes to lowering the teen pregnancy rate in this country, we know what works: access to birth control and good sex education,” said Rochelle Tafolla, Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast spokesperson. “At Planned Parenthood, we’re committed to helping teens make good decisions around sex and relationships, and we work every day to reach teens with accurate information about protecting themselves against unintended pregnancy.”
Emily B shared her personal story with the audience, saying, “I know first-hand what it’s like to be a teen mom. I became pregnant when I was 16. My own mother had me when she was 16. And now my daughter is 16 herself. So I understand how important it is for teens to understand the challenges of raising a child when you’re a teen, and to have all the information they need about prevention and protection.”
Earlier this month, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy released a new national survey that found that four in 10 teens say they have never thought about what their lives would be like if they were to get pregnant or cause a pregnancy.
“When teens are ambivalent about pregnancy, they're more likely to take risks. When they’ve thought about what a pregnancy would actually mean for their lives and their futures, and they’ve made a decision that they don't want to be pregnant right now, they're more likely to both delay sex and use birth control,” said Leslie Kantor, Planned Parenthood Federation of American vice president of education. “Planned Parenthood wants teens to think about their futures and get the necessary resources and information so they can achieve their goals.”
As the nation’s largest provider of sex education, Planned Parenthood offers resources, guidance, and encouragement to teens and parents to talk about relationships and sex. Every year, Planned Parenthood provides educational programs to more than a million people of all ages.
Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast works every day to provide high-quality, teen-friendly services and sex education programs, including Real Life. Real Talk. ® and teenREACH programs.
Background on Support for Sex Education:
Not only is comprehensive, age-appropriate, sex education proven to be effective at decreasing sexual risk behaviors among young people, the vast majority of Americans support it — including a majority of both parents and teens.
- Ninety-three percent of parents believe that high school sex education programs should cover a variety of topics, including birth control.
- More than three-quarters of teens aged 15–17 report that they need more information about birth control, HIV/AIDS, and other sexually transmitted infections.
Background on Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast Programs:
Real Life. Real Talk.® is a bold, nationwide, social change effort. Its aim is to positively change the social climate in communities by creating more open, honest, and balanced talk about sex and health. A more positive social climate will, over time, help to ensure that people — particularly young people — have adequate information and services to enable them to make healthy sexual choices.
teenREACH seeks to incorporate teens in community service, education, and advocacy. teenREACH is working to prevent unintended teen pregnancy by educating peers with age-appropriate, medically accurate information. Members and supporters of teenREACH believe that teens have the basic right to pursue comprehensive sexual health information without fear, shame, or exploitation. Members of teenREACH participate in cross-generational, community-based education emphasizing medically accurate sexual health information.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 700 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
May 29, 2014