Help stem teen pregnancies

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Somewhere this week in Richmond County, 12 young girls will become pregnant. Statistically speaking, they will face persistent poverty; a high school diploma and a living wage will become a distant memory; and a minefield of challenges awaits them, and their babies, for years to come.

And one way or another, we all pay.

May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, and Richmond County, which has one of the highest teen pregnancy and birth rates in the state, really need to take the issue to heart.

Our teen pregnancy rate is nearly 20 percent higher than the state rate. Forty percent of teen mothers do not graduate from high school, and only 2 percent ever graduate from college in their lifetime.

TEEN CHILDBEARING costs Richmond County taxpayers approximately $11 million each year in medical, health, food stamps and other entitlement services. Most of these costs are associated with negative social and health outcomes for the children of teen parents.

These are alarming, unacceptable statistics.

As a community striving for high graduation rates, and preparing our young people to compete in a global market economy, we must invest in teen pregnancy prevention. Our youth deserve the opportunity to complete their high-school and college educations free of early parenthood. Their future children deserve the opportunity to grow up in financially and emotionally stable homes.

Over the next five years, our community will make a focused effort to tackle the challenging issue of teen pregnancy. Last October, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention (G-CAPP) $7.5 million to work with youth serving organizations and clinics in Richmond County to reduce teen pregnancy and teen births by 10 percent by 2015.

THROUGH THIS community-wide initiative, G-CAPP and the Richmond County partners will use broad strategies to reach the majority of youth in our community as well as more intensive strategies customized to reach youth at highest risk for teen pregnancy. All of the programs are evidenced-based and will be rigorously evaluated.

For this initiative to be truly successful, it needs extensive community support from not just parents and young people, but also local foundations, government agencies, public health, education, businesses and faith communities. We as a community should welcome, embrace, support and participate in this community-wide prevention initiative.

Together we can reduce teen pregnancy and teen births by 10 percent. By doing so, we can expect to save the community an estimated $1.2 million per year in costs that would have gone to supporting teen mothers and their children.

Our future will benefit from healthy, productive, well-prepared young people.

(The writer is district health director of the East Central Health District of the Georgia Department of Community Health in Augusta.)

Comments (20) Add comment
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Insider Information
4009
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Insider Information 05/19/11 - 06:31 am
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Is the goal to reduce teen

Is the goal to reduce teen pregnancies or teen births? Those are two different things.

corgimom
38808
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corgimom 05/19/11 - 06:50 am
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Both.

Both.

soldout
1283
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soldout 05/19/11 - 07:11 am
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Spiritual problem that can

Spiritual problem that can only be fixed in the spiritual realm. We teach kids they are just animals by teaching the fairy tale of evolution and they act like it. Teach them they came from a loving creator and you will see an improvement. Our society spends it's money trying to fix what we see rather than fixing the root which is harder to see but always the key to success. God and His Word always have the answer no matter what the question.

55 F-100
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55 F-100 05/19/11 - 07:18 am
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The U.S. government needs to

The U.S. government needs to end the entitlements which provides a career path for pregnancy and birthing a child outside of wedlock to girls who have no intention of graduating high school and beyond. Their mothers and their grandmothers made a living on the government dole, so why shouldn't they? That mindset is the problem.

Jane18
12332
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Jane18 05/19/11 - 08:11 am
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You nailed it 55

You nailed it 55 F-100!!!!!!!!!

WW1949
19
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WW1949 05/19/11 - 08:15 am
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Amen, 55. How about fixing

Amen, 55. How about fixing the problem forever at the second birth for those that depend on the taxpayer for all their needs.

rbndawn
37
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rbndawn 05/19/11 - 10:26 am
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55 I'll give you a 100 I

55 I'll give you a 100 I think you are correct. On the year 2000 the teen pregnancy rate in the US was 84 for every 1000 teens but in Canada was 38 on 1000 and in Europe was even lower. What is the difference between us and them I wonder. I have a 13 year old boy and have sat with him to watch 16 and pregnant on MTV and have showed him how the lives of the boys, girls and parents change when this happen also have talked to him about proteccion and all. Is us parents duty to minimize the circumstances favorable for this to happen. Teaching a talking is a good way to do it. Talk, talk and talk.

DanK
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DanK 05/20/11 - 12:27 am
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It's not just Canada, it's

It's not just Canada, it's all of Europe, Australia, and the Scandinavian countries as well. The teen pregnancy rate is much higher in the U.S. than in those countries. Why? Because in those countries, they have sex education, teach young people about safe sex, personal responsibility, distribute birth control methods, offer non-judgmental counseling, etc. The futile and wrong-headed approach of condemnation and preaching of abstinence has never and will never suffice.

Neonatal mortality is also higher in this country than in those other countries. Why? Because when they do get pregnant, teens have no place to turn for non-judgmental support, counseling, or abortion. Instead, they are condemned and hated by the likes of the above comments, who would rather spit on a pregnant young person than offer a meaningful solution.

The notion that any teenager intentionally gets pregnant with the plan of receiving a government handout is lunacy beyond belief. There is not one single shred of evidence to support such an assertion, and yet it gets thrown out as if it is some sort of factual common knowledge and others gobble it up like ice cream on a hot day.

So we continue in this cycle, and in other social ills, all of which which contribute to the slow but steady erosion of our society. And their only response is more anger, more vitriol, more hate.

seenitB4
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seenitB4 05/20/11 - 07:48 am
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$11million a year for this is

$11million a year for this is insane.......we are paying people to reproduce. Birth control-birth control-birth control.

mhambri5
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mhambri5 09/27/11 - 05:11 pm
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Dank, you are completely

Dank, you are completely correct. The problem is not in evolution or religion. It is not about people stealing money from the government and I agree that it is unreasonable to believe that the reason that a teenager gets pregnant and throws away the possibility of being a college and even a high school graduate, and having a life of their own without being consumed with the needs of their child to gain financial entitlements from the government.
The real problem is the lack of Sex Education in schools that allows students to make responsible and informed decisions about sex. Teenagers are getting pregnant and being infected with diseases because our society doesn't make enough effort to educate our youth and to care about the pressures of sex that teens go through.
There is information about these subjects on WEBSITES: advocates for youth .org, gcapp .org, amplify your voice .org, AND the national campaign .org .
Before you post on this page about some misinformed guess about the issue of Sex Education and Teen Pregnancy you should do some research and base your claims on evidence and documentation.

KSL
145000
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KSL 09/27/11 - 05:38 pm
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mhambri5, so when I came

mhambri5, so when I came along, before there was so much explicit information out there, there were very few out of wedlock births (along with no over-the-counter birth control). Now, when there is no excuse for teens not knowing, (and they do know), they are getting pregnant right and left. I think you will find the root causes are much different than someone's idea of sex education in schools.

I don't think teenage libidos have changed that much since I came along. They are now not scared enough of the consequences of their actions. When I was a teenager, if you got pregnant, society looked at you with negativity. But not only that, the government didn't set you up in a home and pay your medical and food bills. If your parents weren't willing, you were pretty much out of luck. End result, very few illegitimate babies born.

In the late 80's I had a very nice elderly black lady as a client (social work). She was complaining to me about the ability for teenagers to defy parents and be sexually irresponsible because of the backup the government was providing them.

Cassandra Harris
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Cassandra Harris 09/27/11 - 09:30 pm
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In the "good old days" there

In the "good old days" there was teen age pregnancy. These pregnancies were handled differently.
1. The teens were "shotgunned" into marrying each other. It's OK that they divorced later on or that there was tremendous abuse and neglect in the house, so long as they were married, it didn't count as an out of wedlock teen marriage and that's good - um...right?
or
2. The teen girls were shipped off to "unwed mothers homes" in another state to have the child under the guise of going to live with some relative or "studying abroad". The mother was never allowed to see her child, it was taken from her without her consent at the moment of birth and given to a wealthier family, usually whether the mother wanted to give up the baby or not.
or
3. The mother had a back door abortion by an unlicensed butcher in unsanitary and unsafe conditions, paid for by the parents or the boyfriend who didn't want to take care of the child. These unsafe abortions often ended with the death of the mother or permanent injury, leading to the legalization of accessible, safe abortions in a safe environment by a licensed doctor.
or
4. The girl kept the baby, and both she and the baby were ostracized and shunned, she was discriminated in finding work and cut off from help from the community, while her baby was cruelly treated by the community for being "illegitimate" like it was the child's fault in the least. All the while, the father was able to happily continue his life without any responsibility at all and even if the public knew he was the father, he faced no community sanctions because every one knew that "boys will be boys".

Sigh.....how we should all pine away for those "good old days".

By the way, what does the race of the woman have to do with the scenario you spoke of?

KSL
145000
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KSL 09/27/11 - 10:02 pm
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Well, Cass, we didn't have

Well, Cass, we didn't have the problems we have today, do we? My mention of the black grandmother had nothing to do with insinuating race. I just commented that she happened to be black because I do believe that today's stats will reflect more problems there. I'm giving her credit for recognizing it back then. I'm well aware that there is a problem across the boards, by race. And that is not what the problem is about. It's about behavior and personal responsibility, which many children are no longer being taught at home.

KSL
145000
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KSL 09/27/11 - 10:04 pm
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And so your solution, is to

And so your solution, is to tell them to do whatever they want, the government will step in and cover for the 7 minute, or less, baby daddy?

Cassandra Harris
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Cassandra Harris 09/27/11 - 10:26 pm
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KSL - there were a LOT of

KSL - there were a LOT of problems back then that we no longer have today. Women who were permanently mentally and physically scarred for life. Incest and rape victims who were further victimized by society. Babies and innocent children who were subjected to abject poverty and abuse by not only the other children of the community but the adults. Girls killed and maimed in botched back alley abortions, young women torn from their babies left to wonder what had happened to their child. Yes, no problems whatsoever. The rose in your glasses must be very dark indeed.

My solution would be to have comprehensive sex education in the schools teaching them the truths and myths about their sexuality. To make contraceptives available to women of child bearing age. To have our researchers work on a male contraceptive, seeing as so many males aren't abstaining and refuse to use condoms. To have comprehensive intervention in cases of incest and pedophilia and to keep those perverts off the streets for a very long time. Oh, and speaking of baby daddy, make the males face the same social stigma that you expect that girl and her baby to face.

KSL
145000
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KSL 09/27/11 - 11:39 pm
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Cass, your solutions are a

Cass, your solutions are a bit strange. Many of them are totally available now. Why are you suggesting them as if they don't exist now.

Exactly how are your going to get males to use new and improved means of contraception when they are refraining from the use of them now? There is no shortage of methods for them. You say sex education is the answer. They know what's up.

You want to talk a male teenager into doing something short time to not be the parent, you are preaching to the choir. Oh yes, you may help a few out of premature parenthood, the inept or the unlucky. Those dudes out there you are protecting know exactly what they are doing and why.

Vito45
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Vito45 09/28/11 - 02:45 am
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Cassandra: "Oh, and speaking

Cassandra: "Oh, and speaking of baby daddy, make the males face the same social stigma that you expect that girl and her baby to face."

^5. It seems these days some boys/men wear this as a badge of honor.

KSL
145000
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KSL 09/28/11 - 12:21 pm
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Funding cuts, Cassandra?

Funding cuts, Cassandra? These kids have money for lots of other things they don't really need.

Cassandra Harris
-3
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Cassandra Harris 09/28/11 - 02:28 pm
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KSL - Do you work in this

KSL - Do you work in this field with this demographic of teenage children? How do you have this knowledge? Do you volunteer helping them in any way? I'm trying to see where your knowledge of how much money they have and how they spend it comes from. Having worked with a lot of lower income teenagers over the years and living in the urban community, I have seen differently.

KSL
145000
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KSL 09/29/11 - 08:29 am
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@ Cassandra, 10:30 PM,

@ Cassandra, 10:30 PM, Tuesday: I can equally question your complete knowledge of "the good old days."

Vito45
-2
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Vito45 09/29/11 - 09:10 am
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For those who say teenagers

For those who say teenagers don't get pregnant for the purpose of getting on the dole, you are 100% correct. However, having the "dole" available to them enables them to make poor decisions, and to continue making them with the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, child etc.
This is why, as I posted on another thread, there should be a requirement to name the sperm donor before receiving a dime of benefits; then the state going after him for child support. Treat them just like any other deadbeat dad and I wager teen pregnancy rates would drop like a rock.
I wonder how many girls get pregnant because they are from broken homes (or never had a dad to begin with), are emotionally starved for attention, and want a baby to fill that void?

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