As the years have approached this time of the millennium, the culture amidst the youth has changed significantly. The behavioral patterns of the youth have become different from that of years before them. As such, kids have been exposed to adult material, such as that of sex, drugs and violence, at earlier ages. This now brings us to a current rising issue that has been emerging and one that is many times debated upon, with the respect to how to address it. The issue I speak about is teen pregnancy. One of the prevalent sociological problems in the contemporary society is the increasing number of teenage pregnancy.
This is defined as the girls who have not yet reached adulthood and already become pregnant. The United States is noted to have the highest number of teenage pregnancy in the western world (“Teen Pregnancy Stats, Facts and Prevention”). The rate of teenage pregnancy remains high as approximately 1 million teenage girls become pregnant in the United States each year. About 13 percent of births in the United States associated teen mothers and 25 percent of these teenage girls give birth to another baby in the span of two years (Healthcommunities.
com, Inc. ). Teen pregnancy is a relevant issue in today’s society as it incorporates health risks to both mother and child. There is an increased risk on the complications that may occur during and after the delivery. It also has socioeconomic consequences as well since most teenage pregnant mothers are unemployed and could not support themselves. They mostly rely on subsidies and aids from the government (Healthcommunities. com, Inc. ). Teenage pregnancy as the name implies is pregnancy during the adolescent phase or stage of a female individual.
This is something that has become a worldwide concern seen all over the world, as a growing trend for young teens to engage in sex is growing. Relative to the past, exposure to sexual activity is now more available through media and adolescents have become more comfortable in discovering their sexuality at younger ages. Seen as an evident problem worldwide, there are various issues relating to the occurrence of the problem. This has shown many detrimental effects towards the individuals involved and the unborn child as well.
Current methods with respect to preventing the problem are still apparently not enough to address the growing issue. As such, it is of utmost importance to assess current methods of prevention (Trad 221). Teen pregnancies associate various health risks not only for the mothers but also to the child inside her womb. More often than not, teenagers do not receive the timely prenatal care and they have a higher risk for high-blood pressure related to pregnancy and various complications. Some of the risks include premature birth and low birth weight (“Teenage Pregnancy”).
Other risks involve malnutrition since the mothers tend to eat poorly because of their cravings. They also less likely to take the recommended vitamins and minerals that are needed in order to maintain the adequate nutrition of the mother and the baby. Teenage mothers are also less likely to seek adequate prenatal care since they avoid the public’s attention that may lead to scrutiny and discrimination. Teenage pregnancy also has a high risk for fetal deaths since most babies conceived by teenage mothers has low birth weight and may suffer various inborn defects and deficiencies.
There is also the problem of high blood pressure that could severely affect the mother and the child and the excessive bleeding that may follow the delivery. Some teenagers also opt to abort the child inside their womb. While in some countries, abortion is illegal, it continue to persists due to this problems increasing the risk of tetanus poisoning, adverse reactions of the drugs used and other complications related to abortion. Lastly, women who had sex before the age of 18 and got pregnant before or at the age of 18 have higher risk in acquiring Human Papillomavirus which is the main cause of cervical cancer.
Now, the significance of this issue is one that is obvious. Being a current problem for numerous countries throughout the world, the problem of teenage pregnancy although mainly affecting the directly involved individuals is certainly not limited to such scope. It is already evident that having individuals too young to take on the responsibility of parenting are not only a hindrance to proper growth of the two parents in question, but a burden to the entire family of them both.
Should these teens still be in school, their capability of their ability to finish schooling and prepare for a career, to earn the money needed to support the innocent baby, and the willingness of their own parents to help them take care of their baby remains in question. However, apart from the implications on the individual families, this issue extends out onto a nationwide scale. Governments are alarmed by the teenage pregnancy situation due to the economic problems that it may pose. An increasing number of new families, namely the teen parents and their baby, are an increase in dependent families unable to provide for themselves.
There is an increase in the dependent population on the government, which is not yet part of the workforce which serves for economic growth. This will cause problems regarding population growth in relation to the supply of goods. As clearly evident, the implications of this growing issue can increase very much. This is more than enough to prove the importance of this issue, warranting that there is indeed much need to address the problem and look further into it, as the additional burden that it poses will definitely affect current and future generations in more ways than one.
The current claim that I stand for is that the federal government should fund comprehensive sex education in public schools for preventing teenagers’ pregnancy. There are current abstinence-only programs and movements to encourage teens to abstain, however I do believe that this is not enough and sex education in school is necessary. I have many reasons to support this: A. The first reason I place is that simply put, abstinence-only programs do not work. In fact, the evidence I state is that virginity pledges may actually be an aggravating factor to the issue.
They undermine and discourage the use of condoms, thus rendering teens unprepared if an occasion for sexual activity arises. It is true that virginity pledges encourage teens to make an effort not to have sex. However, this does not guarantee that they 100% will not. What it does guarantee is that by discouraging protection, if they do get in a sexual situation, they are unprotected and this highly increases the risk for pregnancy (Denny and Young 414). B. The second reason I have is that abstinence-only programs do not have the capability to persuade teens to abstain.
Although they do preach about having abstinence as a method, the honest reality is that this simply does not happen. If they did work, then the rising problem of teen pregnancy would not be here today. Insisting on just these programs is just like “sticking your head in the sand” and crossing your fingers, when in fact the facts show that a rising problem is growing despite these measures. What is needed is comprehensive sex education to improve contraception to use when teens do have sexual activity.
Some people insist that this program serves to increase teen sex, but really, a comprehensive program does not increase youth sex. It empowers them with the knowledge they need to be protected in the event that they do (Howell). C. The third reason I place for my standpoint is that comprehensive sex education can relieve stresses of youth and give them the power and responsibility to good decision-making. Through the years, it’s always been about not talking about these things and just telling youth not to engage in these things with lack of explanation.
By providing them with the proper education, we give them the knowledge they need to understand the risks involved. This relieves them of unnecessary stresses provided by fear of the unknown. It also helps them decrease their risks for unplanned pregnancy and diseases if they do decide to engage in sex. Despite all these claims however that encourage the use of sex education, a major counterargument still stands. Those who believe in this counterargument still fight for the belief that abstinence education works. It is stated that the percentage of teens who abstain has steadily increased.
These parents support abstinence education because abstinence education makes teens more cautious and it supposedly helps them overcome bad activities such as drugs, smoking, or having sex. They believe that teens are effected by an affirming abstinence message from their parents and school and that abstinence education is the healthiest way for teens to be guided. In addition, it is stated that condoms do not provide effective protection from viruses and diseases such as HIV/AIDS (Katz, Mills, Singh and Best 117). Now, while it is true that abstinence-only may be the way for some, my defense is that this apparently is not the way for all.
I’m not saying that these programs are wrong in their nature. I am saying that although these programs are alright, they are not enough to put a solution to the problem of teenage pregnancy. Even if those in favor of it state that the number of teens effected by it into abstinence is increasing, this increase is not enough to overcome the steady increase of teen sex and teenage pregnancy. The very fact that the number is increasing all over the world is very proof of it, as abstinence programs have already been available throughout these growing problem from years ago (Beh and Diamond 12).
There is a need for a more comprehensive sex education and extensive information and campaign drive to discourage teenage pregnancy as well as to educate our teenagers of the various consequences and complications of this dilemma. New research claims that comprehensive sex education might lead to the reduction of teen pregnancies in the country and to other societies. This research also found out that comprehensive sex education does not encourage sexual intercourse and prevent the proliferation of sexually transmitted disease (The Center for the Advancement of Health).
It has been argued for quite some time between parents and educators whether the students should be instructed of the various birth controls or simply teaches them of abstinence. Teenagers have changed their outlook on sex as the time pass by. The research significantly found out that one out of four teenagers received the abstinence-only sex education and some in the rural areas do not receive any sex education at all. Significant findings showed that “Teens who received comprehensive sex education were 60 percent less likely to report becoming pregnant or impregnating someone than those who received no sex education.
” (The Center for the Advancement of Health). The results suggested that comprehensive sex education slightly reduced the likelihood of teens engaging in sexual intercourse and acquiring sexually transmitted disease (The Center for the Advancement of Health). The American Psychological Association (APA) is likely to recommend a more comprehensive and empirically supported sex education and HIV prevention programs to become widely taught to the teenagers. The recommendation aims to teach the teenagers on how to abstain from risky sexual behaviors and learn how to protect themselves against HIV and other sexually transmitted disease.
People say that sex education may encourage kids to have sex. However I disagree in that this will not be the case if the education is given properly. It’s not about giving sex education and telling them they can have sex. During this education, they will still be told that abstinence is the best, and that having sex at such a young age is not advisable considering the risks involved. However, what this education will do is also let them know, that if in the event they do happen to be in a situation where sex will happen, they should be safe.
It will provide them with reason NOT to have sex by giving them the risks involved, such as disease. It will wake them up to the reality of what can happen should they become pregnant and how much of their life will be changed. Lastly, given they have all this information, it will most importantly provide them with the tools they need in order to prevent these from occurring through safety in sex. It is not realistic to think that one can catch up to this growing problem by just continuing the abstinence programs that have always been there.
Sex education is needed to touch on all the individuals who still plan to have sex despite all the previous abstinence education, so that despite their decision to continue with it, sexual activity’s risk of unplanned pregnancy is a lot lower. Proper and appropriate guidance from parents and guardians are also needed to reinforce the teachings in the sex education. It is important that parents should be able to explain the different facets and consequences of early pregnancy. They should be able to approach their children and explain to them what could be the effects of pregnancy not only to their health but also to their future life.
It is essential that teenagers receive guidance from their parents for them not to be ignorant of what they needed to know. The truth of the matter as main inference is simply that Comprehensive sex education is an important way to be realistic about this growing issue and address it. Teens can have honest sexual health information through comprehensive sex education. This will give them the power to protect themselves from unplanned pregnancy and unwanted diseases. Although abstinence programs are alright, they are not capable of addressing the worldwide issue at the rate that it’s been increasing.
By instilling sex education in curriculum, each and every teen within the scope of this growing problem, who lack information regarding proper protection, will be given what they need to avoid unplanned pregnancy and disease despite their decision to still pursue sexual activity. It is the best and most realistic way to reach all teens and guide them through this very emotional and sensual stage of adolescent development, whether or not they have already decided to engage in sexual activity. Works Cited Beh, Hazel Glenn and Milton Diamond.
“The Failure of Abstinence-Only Education: Minors Have a Right to Honest Talk about Sex. ” Columbia Journal of Gender and Law 15 (2006): 12. Denny, George and Michael Young. “An Evaluation of an Abstinence-Only Sex Education Curriculum: An 18-Month Follow-Up. ” Journal of School Health 76 (2006): 414. Healthcommunities. com, Inc. “Teen Pregnancy. ” Women’s Health Channel. 2009. 20 April 2009 <http://www. womenshealthchannel. com/teenpregnancy/index. shtml>. Howell, Marcela. 2007. “The History of Federal Abstinence-Funding Only. ” Advocates for Youth. 13 April 2009. <http://www.
advocatesforyouth. org/publications/factsheet/fshistoryabonly. htm> Katz, Roger C. , Kris Mills, Nirbhay N. Singh and Al M. Best. “Knowledge and Attitudes about AIDS: A Comparison of Public High School Students, Incarcerated Delinquents, and Emotionally Disturbed Adolescents. ” Journal of Youth and Adolescence 24 (1995): 117. “Teen Pregnancy Stats, Facts and Prevention. ” Family First Aid. 2004. 20 April 2009 <http://www. familyfirstaid. org/teen-pregnancy. html>. “Teenage Pregnancy. ” Medline Plus. 10 April 2009. 20 April 2009 <http://www. nlm. nih. gov/medlineplus/teen