Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Teenage pregnancy refers to the controversial social issue of teenage girls getting pregnant. In developing countries teenage pregnancy is quite usual since many women are expected to be married and with children before they are 20.
The perceived problem with teenage pregnancies is that teenagers are not ready, emotionally and financially, to raise children, even if they are physiologically able to. Teenage girls are generally involved in some form of school education and usually still depend on their parents. In many cases, the father of the baby is of similar age and equally unprepared to raise a child.
Teenage pregnancy is of greatest concern in cases where the mother was clearly below the age of consent when the child was conceived.
If the decision is made not to keep the child there are two main options that may be chosen: abortion or adoption. According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, 30% of teenage pregnancies in the United States result in abortions.
The relationship between the prospective parents may lead to the father or more usually the mother becoming a single parent.
Teenage pregnancy rates
Teenage pregnancy rates vary widely between countries. Some recent statistics for the pregnancy rate per 1000 females 15 to 19 years of age were:
Variations in teenage pregnancy appear to have a multitude of possible causes ranging from social mores, family background and education, to economic and social conditions. No consensus exists about the principal causes in variation in teenage pregnancy rates.
Efforts to reduce teenage pregnancy
Health educators have long argued that sex education (about contraception and safe sexual behavior) would effectively reduce the number of teenage pregnancies, and countries that do use progressive sex education at a young age, such as the Netherlands, do appear to have a much lower rate of teenage pregnancy than the United States. Proponents of this position hold that providing young people with sexual information allows them to make their own choices about whether or not to have sex, not be be rushed into having sex without realizing the consequences, and to be able to use contraception when they eventually do choose to have sex.
Conservatives in the U.S., on the other hand, believe that sexual abstinence alone is the only safe way to reduce teenage pregnancies. Scientific studies that have examined such programs have shown no effectiveness at preventing pregnancies or revealed a statistical increase in some programs. Some conservatives think that the validity of such studies is questionable. The religious right in particular feels that giving teenagers sexual information would lead to an increase in sexual behavior and that this is undesirable, and that juveniles have therefore to be shielded from such information and instead be informed strictly about the possible negative effects of sexual behavior, such as sexually transmitted diseases. The George W. Bush administration has extensively funded abstinence programs in deference to this point of view. However, some controversy has been raised about the Federal Government's role in funding organizations devoted to abstinence-based sex education given that many of them are adjuncts of various churches. Moreover, that some of the organizations were either established by or are funded by the Unification Church has also raised a few eyebrows among atheists and some christians.
- Incidence of teenage pregnancy by country
- Teenage Pregnancy
- Teenage Pregnancy and Drug Abuse: Sources of Problem Behaviors
- Adolescent Pregnancy and Parenthood
- Planned Parenthood on Reducing Teenage Pregnancy
- MTV's fight for right myth and truth about teen pregnancy
- Paper researching the psychology behind adolescent pregnancy and possible causes, and prevention
- Alan Guttmacher Institute statistics: Teen Sex and Pregnancy
- The odd case concerning Lina Medina (age 5yr) of Ticrapo, Peru
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details