I was watching them discuss this on CNN the other night and couldn't believe what the abstinence side was saying!! Talk about having their heads buried in the sand!! The person they had representing that side was trying to say that if the school had accepted the federal abstinence teaching money they wouldn't have a problem?? How much more proof do these folks need to see that abstinence teaching alone doesn't work? The problem is so much larger than just no one was "teaching" them to just say no, not until I am married. They've also criticized the fact that that particular school from this article - has an onsite day care and makes it too "easy" for the girls when they do have babies. HELLO!! The odds are so stacked against teen mothers - why should we make it hard for them to get even a basic high school education? Why should you be made to stay at home all day away from your friends and then go to evening classes and miss the support of your friends even more and to be made to feel like more of an outcast? That's just promoting the social isolation that was part of the problem in the first place!
I also don't think that the media is glamourizing teen pregnancy and that's what makes these kids run out and get pregnant ( I don't really think that they are trying to get pregnant anyways for the most part - most of them probably just don't have access to good birth control ). Did any of you see "juno"? It didn't glamourize being pregnant in high school - sure she was a character as you would say around here - but it was trying to show what she was missing out on by being pregnant and how it negatively affected her life. It showed her not being able to go the prom. it showed folks just staring at her belly and giving her that "look". It showed her having to give up her childhood to deal with situations that she really wasn't prepared to handle - including how her up until then fun relationship with the man who fathered her child changed. I think even the way she got pregnant was very typical - they were bored and thought why not let's try this sex thing. The articles on this are also saying that jamie lynn spears getting pregnant at 16 has glamourized teen pregnancy too. How? She's certainly not the first child star to get pregnant and she won't be the last. Just nowadays they don't get packed up and sent to the other side of the country ( or another country altogether ) to "hide" until after they've had the baby. It's the tabloids trying to get pictures of jamie pregnant to sell magazines - they aren't aimed at teenagers. The magazines aimed at teens certainly aren't showing pictures of her or glamourizing her that I've seen.
I live in a relatively small town myself. Even though we have a rather large medical center here in town - the closest planned parenthood/std/pregnancy type clinic is 15 miles away. We have no public transportation. If a teen doesn't feel comfortable discussing their sexuality with their parents they need to rely on finding a ride to get there regularly to get birth control ( unfortunately the hospital doesn' t have anything set up for low cost birth control /counseling for teens that wouldn't result in paperwork being sent to their parents with the insurance ). yes you can buy condoms at the local stores but when it's probably your neighbor checking you out of the store - are you going to? Yes in PA you can get plan B back up birth control at all pharmacy's without a prescription. You have to be 18 years of age to get it though. No help for girls under that age. It's also $45 for the pills. That's a lot of money to come up with even if you do happen to be employed! I wish we had even a monthly clinic in the high school and middle school for kids to go to, get free condoms and if they want - get on some type of birth control. In this area at least - we seem to do better with the kids AFTER they are pregnant or in any sort of trouble instead of focusing on the keeping them from getting into those situations in the first place...sigh. I know I've spent hours talking with my kids about all this. My son and his gf have come to me too and we've had numerous very frank discussions about sex, birth control, std's etc. It's not easy to do but I've been very open with them about it because as I've told them - I'd rather have these sorts of talks with you instead of you coming to me later on and telling me that you are pregnant. Most of my friends tell me their talk to their kids consisted of - I catch you having sex I'll kill you. I think that's probably the more typical response of most parents don't you? I know that was pretty much the talk I got growing up and it didn't keep me from being sexually active before marriage - it just kept me from turning to my parents about it all.
I think too many folks are trying to simplify this whole situation. It's the parents fault. It's the school's fault. It's the media's fault. It's just not that simple - especially not in a small community where the economy is floudering due to a loss of the main source of income ( in this case the changes in the fishing industry has caused more unemployment in that area ). Humans are sexual beings. It's completely normal for us to be curious about sex at a young age as well as have sexual urges that we want to act on. Even many of us adults don't have good impulse control when it comes to sex - why do we expect our children to be any different? I know I certainly didn't follow the "rules" I was raised with. I was just lucky enough not to get pregnant until after I was married !
My 2 cents at least