Teen Pregnancy

P G E R N IO E L O E F

T AP C A N Y C N THE PROBLEM 34% of teens have at least one pregnancy before they turn 20. 80% of these pregnancies are unintended. This

is costly for the parents, the child, and society. A pregnancy is likely to interfere with the mothers education, health, and overall lifestyle. The majority of teen mothers end up on welfare, and their children are likely to not graduate. OUR SOLUTION All freshman at San Rafael High School are required to take a health education class. While this class focuses on methods of contraception, it does not emphasize what it is like to be a teen parent. We would like to improve this program by enhancing the component regarding the realities of being a teen parent.

This program may include: -speakers -learning facts through statistics -examining finances -having students carry around pretend babies ACTION #1: RESEARCH We thoroughly researched the topic in order to broaden our understanding. Some of our findings: -The US spends $7 billion each year due to the costs of teen pregnancy -80% of unmarried teen mothers end up on welfare

-Teen moms are likely to have health problems including high blood pressure, post-partum depression, premature labor, and low birth weight babies ACTION #2: INTERVIEWS We conducted a series of interviews to gain further understanding of the problem and learn what is already being done about it. -Cecilia interviewed Jackie Davis, Community Health Coordinator at Huckleberry Youth Program -Bella interviewed Ms. Pappenheimer, San Rafael High

School principal -Sami; interviewed De Thorne, an OBGYN at Kaiser Permanente -Monica interviewed a teen parent Following are summaries of these interviews. BELLAS INTERVIEW What is the main reason behind teen pregnancy? Well, besides sexI think kids get pregnant accidentally, and the options that are offered to them or not determine their actions. Religion and their parents beliefs influence

this greatly. So the main problem with teen pregnancy is that it hurts the pregnant girls education? It is a problem when they try and finish their high school careerThey overestimate what theyre capable of doing Interference with education is tremendous. How could we implement something into the health program to emphasize how difficult the life of a teen mom is? You could talk about the challenges [of raising a child while going through high school]but everyones going to have a different experience. CECILIAS INTERVIEW

I interviewed Jackie Davis; she works at the Huckleberry Youth Program and works in the clinic every Tuesday. Part of her job is to work with students and educate them to have safe sex if they choose to have sex. At Huckleberrys clinic sometimes there are girls that take a pregnancy test and it comes out positive, then her job is to help them make the best decision for the baby and her. I learned that the main causes of teen pregnancy are unprotected sex, lack of education, sexism, and teens wanting to find a purpose and someone to love. The problem with teen pregnancy is a high portion of poverty; it interferes with teens

education and goals in life. Some ways to reduce teen pregnancy are to educate teens on birth control and have community access to health services. SAMIS INTERVIEW I interviewed De Thorne, an OBGYN at Kaiser. She said that the main problems with teen pregnancies are disruptions in the mothers education, poverty for the parents and their children, and a burden on tax dollars. Causes include myths about birth control, lack of access to contraception, failing to plan for the long term, and lack of education regarding

pregnancy and parenting. She thought a school program that looked at parenting from a budgetary perspective and required children to carry around fake babies (eggs, dolls, flour sacs, etc.) would be effective in helping prevent teen pregnancies. MONICAS INTERVIEW I had the opportunity to interview a teen mother who told me about her personal experience and thoughts about teen pregnancy. First I started off by asking her if she wanted to get pregnant and she said no. I also asked her if she had access to birth control before she got pregnant and she said

yes. Then I asked her why she decided to keep the baby, instead of choosing adoption or abortion, and she responded to me by saying that her father was the one that told her to keep the baby. Her family played a major role in her decision. I asked Brenda how her life and goals have changed since having her baby. She responded by stating that now she has to think about everything she does and how her decisions not only affect her but also her daughter. The last question I asked her was what does she think about adding the new teen pregnancy idea to the health class curriculum. She said that she thought that it would be a great idea and it would really give students a hands on experience of what it would

be like to be teen parents. ACTION #3: INTRODUCE POLICY AND GAIN SUPPORT We presented our proposed policy to students through a public service announcement and provided contact information for San Rafael City Schools so they could write or call to support our plan. ACTION #4: CONTACTING SRCS We sent a letter to San Rafael City Schools to propose implementing our change. We

included some of our research on teen pregnancy, and why we think our plan will be effective. ACTION #5: CONTACTING CONGRESS To further support our cause, we sent a letter to our Congressional representative, showing our support for programs like Huckleberry that help prevent teen pregnancy. Huckleberry receives public funding, and we want this to continue. REFLECTION

While we are still waiting to see any results of our policy proposal, we succeeded in educating some students about teen pregnancies. This is a worldwide, enduring problem that will never be eradicated, but we may have helped to lessen its impact in our community. Our group explored the effort it takes to implement change, and we now have a more thorough understanding of what it means to be an effective citizen. By Bella, Cecilia, Monica, Rachel, and Sami;

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