MEMPHIS, TN — In recognition of the eighth annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Wednesday, May 6, 2009, Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region (PPGMR) is calling for comprehensive, medically accurate sexuality education programs to reduce the alarming rate of unintended teen pregnancies.
“Teens deserve honest, accurate, age-appropriate information about how to protect themselves,” said PPGMR CEO Barry Chase. “They need sexuality education that provides information about healthy communication, responsible decision making, as well as abstinence and contraception, as ways to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.”
The U.S. teen birthrate increased for the second year in a row, according to data released in March by the National Center for Health Statistics. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy reports the U.S. has the highest rates of teen pregnancy among developed countries, and the Mid-South region has some of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the nation. In 2006 (most recent data available), 13% of all Tennessee births were to teenagers; in Arkansas, 14.7% of all births were to teenagers; and in Mississippi, 16.4% of births were to teenagers. It’s believed the majority of those teenaged births were unintended. Another shocking statistic: according to the Urban Child Institute, one quarter of births to teens in Shelby County were not first births.
Providing teens and young people with the information they need to make responsible decisions is the commonsense solution to reducing unintended teen pregnancy. Numerous studies have analyzed abstinence-only programs and found them to be ineffective. A study conducted by the University of Washington found that teens who had comprehensive sex education were 50 percent less likely to become pregnant than teens who had no sex education or who were in abstinence-only programs. A study by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy reports that two-thirds of the examined sex education programs that focus on both abstinence and contraception had a positive effect on teen sexual behavior.
PPGMR employs two full-time health educators who provide medically accurate, age-appropriate, comprehensive sexuality education to thousands of children and adults in the Mid-South each year through collaborations with schools, churches, community centers and local organizations. Please call (901) 725-3033 if you would like to schedule an education session for your youth group, church group or community group.
Planned Parenthood Greater Memphis Region (PPGMR), founded in 1938, is an affiliate of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. PPGMR’s mission is to ensure broad public access to reproductive and related health care through clinic services, education, advocacy and community partnerships in serving 42 counties in West Tennessee, North Mississippi and East Arkansas.