Misconceptions: The (Recent) History of Teen Pregnancy

By Rebecca Torchia

Image from from buddytv.com
Image from from buddytv.com

Thanks to the modern craze of reality television, just about anyone can become famous. Amish teenagers can gain fame while they explore our world in “Breaking Amish.”  Children can become stars before they even know the definition of famous in Toddlers in Tiaras.

If either of those don’t work, there’s always childbearing.  With shows like “16 and Pregnant” and “Teen Mom,”  many people are worried about young girls attempting to get pregnant simply to make it big as a reality television star. Since the release of these shows late in the last decade, teen pregnancy has been a more prevalent topic on everyone’s mind.

But is teen pregnancy really becoming more of an issue?

Sophomore Ian Marderness seems to think so. He thinks that teen pregnancy rates have to have gone up because, “A lot more young people are having sex at a lot younger ages.”  This may certainly seem to be the case.

“The teen birth rate has declined almost continuously over the last 20 years,” according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Although it may seem as though teen pregnancy is a growing problem, it is actually one that has been receding for quite a while. This appears to come as a shock to many people.

It’s important to remember that a rise in awareness of teen pregnancy does not mean a rise in teen pregnancy itself.

There are many contributing factors, but one of the biggest is the availability of birth control. It seems as though when teens were able to get their hands on pills and condoms, they did just that.

In fact, the biggest drop in teen pregnancy rates occurred this last year and is suspected to be directly correlated with The Affordable Care Act passed by the Obama administration.

This act created birth control that was available without co-pays or deductibles, making it much more accessible to 15-19-year-olds, or those classified as teens in teen pregnancy statistics.

Freshman Catina Llanes makes the point that, “a lot of teenagers worry about their parents getting involved.”  With more accessibility and less cost, parental involvement is an issue that virtually disappears, giving more teens the courage to acquire and use birth control.

While sex invades pop culture, it seems to be having no significant impact on teen pregnancy. Even movies and shows that glamourize the topic, such as Juno or My Teen is Pregnant and So Am I, are not doing damage to the extent people might think.

With teen pregnancy rates falling every year, the rest of the world can continue to enjoy their reality television while keeping their peace of mind.

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