As of 2010, teen pregnancies are doubling each year. With teens continually being bombarded with music, television shows and movies centered around sex along with the idealized reality of real-life teen pregnancy shows; it is no wonder why this epidemic is occurring. Behind the curtains of these scripted lives is the unknown truth about teen pregnancy.
Having a child while still high school presents many obstacles for the parents. First, 70% of teenage parents do not stay together which puts the child into a broken home. Then there is the fact that over half of new teen mothers are not even old enough to apply for Medicaid or work a full-time job. Teen mothers are typically forced to drop out of school and 87% never finish high school or go onto college. It can become impossible to find a decent paying job without an education and the cost of caring for a child for 18+ years is more than most teens realize before they choose to have a baby.
Most teen pregnancies are unplanned, but the reason that there is an astonishing rate of pregnancies is baffling to everyone. Middle schools today teach sexual education as early as the 5th grade. Condoms are given for free through local health clinics and pregnancy planning clinics. These facilities will also give low-cost or free birth control to teenage girls starting at age 14. With many free options, why are teens still having unplanned pregnancies at an astonishing rate? The truth is that education is lacking on the home front. Parents rely on schools to teach their children and the result is that many fail to listen. It is up to parents to talk to their children about sex and their birth control options.
If you find yourself with an unplanned pregnancy there are many options to consider. Some families will happily support their children if the event of a pregnancy, however it is still the teen’s responsibility to provide for their child. Failure to do so could result in loss of custody to the state. The guidelines are different based on each state, but the end result is always the same. Adoption is a second option for soon-to-be parents. There is a lengthy process including a psychological evaluation before a young couple can offer their child for adoption. There are two forms of adoption, open and closed. Open adoption allows the birth parents to receive pictures and letters from the adopted parents while closed adoption eliminates all contact. Finally, teens may choose abortion up to the second trimester. This process is painful and expensive, but may be the best option in some circumstances. A clinic nurse can discuss the various options with teen parents and it is advised that they speak with a counselor before making any definite decisions on their babies future.