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J. Shaffer

"For those interested in the public health aspects of reducing teen pregnancy, consider involvement in schools and community-based programs for sexual health education for greatest impact on the next generation.

Imagine the ripple effect of saving even one child from premature motherhood. Opening dialogue and quelling the stigma associated with these issues will go a long way to educating our sons and daughters and, ultimately, will help these boys and girls grow into happy, healthy partners for their spouses someday."


I think this is a great article. Nice of them to write for the newspaper. It's also very carefully written to not step on toes. Texas has the most restrictive laws in the country when it comes to teenagers and access to birth control.

I would have liked to see a link or recommendation on 'how to get involved in schools'. I would like to see something in the link that IS provided that these professionals do any kind of public speaking on birth control.

There IS a lot more to be done here. Who better to step up to the plate and TELL us where we can go to help teach teens. Tell me when you, Dr. Muir and Dr. Hansen, will be giving a free seminar on birth control to the public so that women have access to the information they need.

Have you written your representatives that we need to change the 'just say no' attitude in schools that just isn't working? The impact a doctor (or two) has can have a ripple effect, indeed.

Island Bred

I believe these 2 Dr's were speakers at a Women's Health seminar or something UTMB put on not too long ago. I believe the enterance fee was $50 or something. Something probably none of thier focus group would ever pay. I think the idea they have is excellent and I think they should take thier show on the road - like Jayne says.

Lars Faltskog

I notice the article emphasizes more than once on the thousands of teens who result in "unplanned" or "unwanted" pregnancy. I hasten to say that, in reality, there's a substantial number of teens who actually want to bear a child, and they indeed accomplish that. One main reason for that is the need to nurture and feel that she, as a young mother, is taking care of another being - for eventual love and appreciation in return.

That's where I feel there must be more guidance toward teens/young women in regard to their life fulfillment in their formative years. Somehow, to guide them to strive for goals other than parenting and motherhood. This seems to be part of the puzzle that is missing from our professional family planners/counselors, et cetera.

Kevin Lang

sverige1, I think that if you dig further into these emotions, they aren't based on sound understandings of the process. They may have some kind of romantic notions of the panacea of child-rearing. One that probably doesn't take into account the multiple feedings, diaper changes, crying fits, and all the other joys of parenthood. Not that these things are particularly bad aspects, but I doubt many of these teen wannabe moms realize that babies come with far steeper learning curves, and far greater challenges that kittens or puppies.

I seriously doubt that many 14-19 year-olds think that life doesn't get any better than staying home on Friday night with a colicky baby throwing and spitting food and soiling 3 diapers an hour while all their friends are out checking out the latest Hollywood 3D movie or cheering at the football game. Those that do realize that life doesn't get better than that are mature enough to realize that it should wait.

We need the schools to force parents to prove that their kids understand all of the gory details of sexual reproduction and pregnancy and child rearing, or we have to tell those parents to shove their objections where the sun doesn't shine and make the kids learn it in school, and not at 16 or 17 after they've already learned about it from some boy's dad's or older brother's "stash", but starting as soon as their hormones start making the changes. Failing that, the parents should have to post a bond to ensure that the children will get the proper prenatal care and counseling.

George Croix

Good article.
Would have been nice to also include something along the lines of what can be done in the home, by the parents, instead of just outsourcing to the village.
Something along these lines, with some additions from original, but due credit given for it:
"For those interested in the individual responsibility aspects of reducing teen pregnancy, consider involvement with your children, teaching them morals and good judgement by example, caring about and insisting on knowing where they are and who they are with, and providing the love and care that leads to a positive self-image and confidence. Do this for their positive personal developement that is a precursor to the succesful ability to use sexual health education for greatest impact on the next generation. Starting with themselves and good choices made, so they are less likely to end up making a bad choice."

If we still had more of that, we wouldn't need so much of the other.

Kevin Lang

That pretty much covers at least one leg of the proactive approach. Communication between parents and children is an excellent start. In every stage of life, we can't expect people to make the right decisions if we don't give them the right information to work with. I'm sure that many parents are worried about giving the kids too much information for fear that they'll use it unwisely, but overall, I'd prefer that over giving far too little information and thinking that somehow they'll just happen upon the right decision. There's just too many sources of the wrong information these days, and if the kids don't have proper access to the right information, we know what's going to rule the decision process.

J. Shaffer

"Something done in the home" still needs the tools to do that job. When parents choose to home school, there are multiple teaching aids available to instruct your children on math, English, history and other subjects.

A health care provider concerned about the subject of reproduction and responsibility should be able to cite a source where parents can get those resources... but this article is noticeably absent those sources. The state of Texas is noticeably short of those resources.

Good choices and personal development are the result of a good education AND the attention and personal involvement of parents. Having a positive self image and confidence means making informed choices for yourself when sexuality is involved. Where DO parents get the information they need to properly instruct their children on how NOT to get pregnant?

Inquiring minds should WANT to know.

George Croix

"Where DO parents get the information they need to properly instruct their children on how NOT to get pregnant?"

Well, on the subject of not getting pregnant outside of marriage, a great first step in proper instruction is to show how that's done by personal example.
All else is of lesser value than it could be unless that demonstrated personal responsibility precursor to show that the learner is not being asked to do just what is said, but what was done, is there.

Lars Faltskog

Response to kevjlang posted at 5:00 pm on Thu, Aug 15, 2013:

Well, while I don't advocate "passing out condoms in kindergarten", as was mentioned by Chastity Pariah in "Elvira, Mistress of the Dark". However, I think 4th grade might be a good starting point. Now, what geocroix says about parents setting the example at home - I simply don't see that. In many cases, the 4th grader has a mom (and dad if around) who likely had him/her in the teen years.

It is correct that teens don't see the diaper changing and stay-at-homes when they romanticize parenthood. But, what they do see is a society pressuring them to "grow up". It seems like so much of family is focused on multiplying and feeling "accepted" only if you're indeed in the family way.

Folks can't just sit down and write a paper or do the formulas necessary for their physics classes. It's all "instant gratification" with no vision of the virtues of being alone to think about the future.

I sometimes think clergy should be more involved. If more folks thought about the seminaries for priesthood, or entering the nunneries, then we'd have less unwanted babies and more people striving for spiritual growth. Taking vows of poverty and chastity might be a good thing for quite a few folks who are brainwashed into the "American way".

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