The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the industrialized world — twice as high as in England or Canada and eight times as high as in the Netherlands or Japan. About 1 million teenagers become pregnant each year and 95 percent of those pregnancies are unintended. Of those unintended pregnancies, almost one-third ends in abortion.

Teen childbearing in the United States costs taxpayers (federal, state, and local) at least $9.2 billion, according to a 2006 report by Saul Hoffman, Ph.D., Professor of Economics and Department Chair at the University of Delaware and published by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. These costs include $1.9 billion for increased public sector health care costs, $2.3 billion for increased child welfare costs, $2.1 billion for increased costs for state prison systems, and $2.9 billion in lost revenue due to lower taxes paid by the children of teen mothers over their own adult lifetimes. Most of the costs of teen childbearing are associated with negative consequences for the children of teen mothers, including increased costs for health care, foster care, and incarceration. Teenage mothers are also more likely to drop out of high school, remain single parents and lower in math and reading into adolescence. Parenthood is the leading reason why teen girls drop out of school. Less than half of teen mothers ever graduate from high school and fewer than two percent earn a college degree by age 30.

teen-pregnancy Unplanned pregnancies are frequently resolved by abortion and although Americans differ a great deal in their views about abortion, virtually all of us see value in lessening the need for abortion and would prefer that fewer women have to confront an unplanned pregnancy in the first place.

Among some groups, especially the large and growing Latino population, rates of teen pregnancy and birth are well above the national average and are declining far more slowly than the overall rates.

Teen pregnancy can have serious consequences for girls and guys, including decreased chances of finishing school, a rocky financial future, and health risks for both the mother and the child. Some facts about teen pregnancy:

  •  The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the industrialized world — twice as high as in England or Canada and eight times as high as for instance in the Netherlands or Japan.
  •  Almost 50% of teens have never considered how a pregnancy would affect their lives.
  •  Parenthood is the leading reason why teen girls drop out of school. Less than half of teen mothers ever graduate from high school and fewer than two percent earn a college degree by age 30.
  •  Children of teen mothers do worse in school than those born to older parents — they are 50 percent more likely to repeat a grade, are less likely to complete high school than the children of older mothers, and have lower performance on standardized tests.
  •  Pregnant teens are far less likely to receive timely and consistent prenatal care than those who get pregnant at a later age. The children of teen mothers are more likely to be born prematurely and at low birth weight and are two times more likely to suffer abuse and neglect compared to children of older mothers. Teen mothers are also more likely to smoke during pregnancy, and often teen mothers are not at adequate pre-pregnancy weight and/or do not gain the appropriate amount of weight while pregnant.
  •  Two-thirds of families begun by a young unmarried mother are poor. More than half of all mothers on welfare had their first child as a teenager.
  •  Teen mothers are likely to have a second birth relatively soon — about one-fourth of teenage mothers have a second child within 24 months of the first birth — which can further impede their ability to finish school or keep a job, and to escape poverty.
  •  Eight out of ten fathers don’t marry the mother of their child. These absent fathers pay less than $800 annually for child support, often because they are poor themselves. Children who live apart from their fathers are also five times more likely to be poor than children with both parents at home.
  •  The daughters of young teen mothers are three times more likely to become teen mothers themselves
  •  The sons of teen mothers are twice as likely to end up in prison.

There are organizations in many communities devoted to preventing teen pregnancy; they are affiliated with churches, synagogues, schools, independent clubs, non-profit organizations, health centers, and reproductive health organizations. Contact your local school board, faith leaders, youth groups and others who are concerned about young people. You can also talk to parents and teens and educate them about the consequences of unprotected sex and teen pregnancy. In fact, one of the most important things anyone can do is to make sure parents and teens talk about these issues and know the facts.

 

Remember! You can get pregnant every time you have sex. Including the first time!

 

Protect!!!!