Last night in Houston, DJ Amanda Seales and VH1’s Emily B hosted a roundtable Q&A on teen pregnancy as part of Planned Parenthood’s National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. The hosts spoke to local teens, parents, educators, community leaders, and celebrity guests about teen pregnancy prevention and hear personal experiences of teen pregnancy and parenting.
“I know first-hand what it’s like to be a teen mom,” Emily B told the crowd. “I became pregnant when I was 16. My own mother had me when she was 16. And now my daughter is 16 herself. So I understand how important it is for teens to understand the challenges of raising a child when you’re a teen, and to have all the information they need about prevention and protection.”
Though a recent Guttmacher Institute report shows rates of teen pregnancy, birth, and abortion have declined dramatically in the U.S. at both state and national levels, there are continuing disparities between different states and racial and ethnic minorities, with Texas having the third-highest rate of teen pregnancy in the country. Rochelle Tafolla, a spokesperson for Planned Parrenthood Gulf Coast, said:
“When it comes to lowering the teen pregnancy rate in this country, we know what works: access to birth control and good sex education. At Planned Parenthood, we’re committed to helping teens make good decisions around sex and relationships, and we work every day to reach teens with accurate information about protecting themselves against unintended pregnancy.”
According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy’s new national survey, 40% of teens say they have never thought about the impact pregnancy or causing pregnancy would have on their lives. Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Vice President of Education Leslie Kantor responded to this by saying,
“When teens are ambivalent about pregnancy, they’re more likely to take risks. When they’ve thought about what a pregnancy would actually mean for their lives and their futures, and they’ve made a decision that they don’t want to be pregnant right now, they’re more likely to both delay sex and use birth control. “Planned Parenthood wants teens to think about their futures and get the necessary resources and information so they can achieve their goals.”