Ways to Reduce Teen Pregnancy
in Yakima County

by Jessica

Teen pregnancy has reached epidemic proportions here in Yakima County. Many factors can be blamed for this. Anything from teachers, parents, the media or the youth themselves. This all boils down to one simple question; how is society going to solve this problem? There are many solutions like abstinence, education, and greater availability of contraceptives. One main factor is certain, adult involvement is essential for this to be dealt with in a positive manner.

Obviously, the easiest way to avoid pregnancy is to never have sexual intercourse in the first place. Not only does this method prevent pregnancy, it also prevents STDs. The choice of practicing abstinence is not an easy one. Pressure from friends, boyfriends, girlfriends, or the media can be overwhelming. Learning to cope with these stresses is the first step. Parents have a lot of influence in these matters. By instilling a strong sense of value, whether religious, moral, or any other term that could be used, the person can feel good about their decision. A person who feels good about the decisions they make can follow through with them and maybe even avoid a terrible situation. The choice of abstinence is not for everyone though. This is where education about safe sex needs to be offered.

For people having sexual intercourse, abstinence is not an option. Instead of education these youth on foregoing sex, education needs to be focused on making the act safe. A condom is the most widely known and convenient method. Their use, where to obtain them, and risk factors need to be addressed in all sexual education classes. Other forms of birth control, like the pill or a diaphragm, also have to be shown to youth so they have the chance to become familiar with various methods of contraceptives. Educators and parents can become involved in this process. Teachers can teach the facts and parents can teach the morals. This will offer the child a well-rounded education.

Teachers and parents also have another method of involvement that goes hand in hand with education; openness. The willingness to speak freely about the body, what it goes through and sexual activity in general is important in today's society. Parents and children can develop a partnership and tackle this problem together. Involving parents allows the child access to a greater source of information and if needed, better health care and contraceptives. General openness on the subject can bring about a positive trend in teen pregnancies. A 14-year-old girl is a time bomb waiting to explode. Her friends could tell her myths about not getting pregnant the first time or when you are so young. Involving her parents and educators in her decisions bring light to a while other world. She can now realize the risks she is taking with her body.

Parental and teacher involvement is a necessary aspect in the fight against teen pregnancy. No matter how it is dealt with, from abstinence to contraceptives, pregnancy can be avoided by making wise decisions. Sex can be made so it is no longer taboo. It can be discussed in a mature way as an act which is natural and beautiful if practiced safely and wisely.

"I sing sometimes/ like my life was at stake/ cause you're only as loud/ as the noises you make/ i'm learning to laugh /as loud as I can listen/ cause silence is violence/ in women and poor people/ if more people were screamin/ then i could relax/ but a good brain ain't diddly/ if you don't have the facts."
- Ani Difranco

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