Teen Pregnancy Essay

1672 words - 7 pages

Every year approximately one million teenage girls become pregnant
in the United States. Of theses pregnancies only 13 percent are intended.
As a result, about a third of these teens abort their pregnancies, another
14 percent lose their pregnancies to miscarriage, and the remaining 52
percent teens bear children. Of the half-a-million teens that give birth
annually, 72 percent are unmarried and 75 percent are giving birth for the
first time. More than 175,000 of these new moms are age 17 years or
younger. The teen pregnancy rate in the United States is higher than most
other industrialized countries and is ten times as high as the rate of
Japan and the Netherlands. Although the pregnancy rate for teenagers has
been reduced in the past twenty years, the number of teenagers has
increased and therefore so has the number of teen pregnancies and births
(www.agi-usa.org/pubs/fb_teen_sex.html). Throughout the years, the issue
of teenage pregnancy has continued to be a controversial topic in many
arenas including national politics and welfare reform, the media,
educational institutions, the public health movement, and religious
institutions. It is therefore important to look at policy implications for
teen mothers and their children.

Teenage pregnancy has become an important public policy issue as it has
been defined as a social problem rather than an individual concern. Policy
intervention regarding teenage pregnancy will only be useful if it were
determined that reducing teen pregnancy and motherhood would improve the
lives of teen mothers, their children, and society at large. Although
there are several health risks and biological problems related to teenage
pregnancy, some of the strongest concerns for policy makers are the social
and economic consequences that result from young parenthood. Teenage
mothers and their children often end up living in poverty and depending on
welfare. The high costs that come with having a new baby combined with a
lack of income and support for adolescent mothers can have very disparaging
effects on the socio-economic status of teenage-headed families. Teen
mothers have a lower chance of completing high school, especially if the
have their first child before the age of 18 (Klepinger, Lundberg, and
Plotnick). In addition, many teen mothers have very few basic skills such
as computer literacy, restricting their employment opportunities to a very
low-wage market. Over the years, teenage mothers have become increasingly
likely to be single parents and the sole economic provider for themselves
and their children. This combination of factors makes it very likely that
a teen mom and her children will be very economically disadvantaged
providing a dismal outlook for the young family's future.

Children of teenage mothers often suffer greatly from the consequences of
poverty. Children of young mothers tend to receive less medical attention
and care than children who...

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