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Gema Barrera : Parents Downplay Teen Pregnancy

This is another blog from Gema Barrera. She is an Intern Writer here at GOPisForMe. I asked her to write about teen pregnancy, and why it seems to be more acceptable in the Hispanic community. This is her response:

Pregnant Latina Teenagers on school bus. Photo courtesy NBC Latino.

One look around our community will tell you; teen pregnancy is everywhere. With teen pregnancy on the rise, one may think it is has become acceptable.

Obviously no teen wants to be pregnant. Whether a 15 year old makes low grades or high grades, has no clue what they will do with their life or has their life mapped out for success, they know one thing is for sure; they don’t want to become a teen parent.  Being young should be a time for growth, fun, and learning.  I don’t know anyone who would intentionally throw that away, yet teen pregnancy still occurs, and is becoming an issue of dire importance.

Sex education in schools leads to lower teen pregnancy rates. Mississippi has the highest teen pregnancy rate where no sex education is required.  New Hampshire, the lowest rate, where sex education is required. Texas is among the states that don’t require sex education to be taught, and I personally have never received a sex education class.

What I know about sex, contraceptives, and relationships comes from my parents, television, but most of all my peers. Commendable? I don’t think so. Parents are knowledgeable and can teach a great deal, but for most teens it is just more comfortable to get information from elsewhere when it comes to sex and relationships.

However, a problem I see when it comes to schools educating about sex is that in many states, if sex education is taught, abstinence is stressed. Is it best for teens, even adults, to wait until marriage to have sex? The answer is yes.

By waiting until marriage, one eliminates the possibilities of unwanted pregnancy and contracting a sexually transmitted disease. But is abstinence a realistic principle to teach young people in today’s world? I believe it isn’t. Sex is on television, in books, magazines, and even famous song artists sing about it on the radio. I think many would agree that today’s society is not one where abstinence is widely practiced. Having said this, schools should take a different approach and teach about building and being in healthy relationships, and the benefits there are to delaying sexual activity. You can hammer abstinence into someone’s head all you want but ultimately the choice to have sex is theirs. So why not give young people other useful, important, and beneficial information about relationships and sex that will be useful to them throughout their life?

A big factor that plays a role in making teenage pregnancy seem acceptable is the way parents react to the news of the pregnancy. Upon finding out that their teen is going to become a parent themselves, parents will feel sad, shock, anger, and even guilt. But eventually all the negative emotions will melt away because the product of any pregnancy is something beautiful. Everyone loves babies. They’re small, soft, and just plain adorable. It doesn’t matter if someone is a teen parent, the baby will always be innocent. I believe this downplays the solemnity of teen pregnancy. But of course no one can stay upset forever and even if a teen does make the mistake of becoming a teen parent, the only thing that can be done is to move forward.

Gema Barrera, Intern Writer at GOPisForMe

I believe teen pregnancy is not becoming acceptable and never will be acceptable because becoming a teen parent is not something that any parent or teen would want for themselves.

Teen pregnancy completely changes a teen’s life and makes getting an education difficult. This is why prevention is key. It would be really nice if all teens practiced abstinence until marriage, but abstinence programs are proving again and again that they don’t make a difference. It’s time to begin educating students on matters that will benefit them for the rest of their lives. This, I believe, will make the change that is needed.

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