One should not underestimate a young person’s ability to see some of the complexities in the range of issues including sexual behavior. Whether debating the failures of abstinence-only sex education, the “morning after pill,” abortion, or parental notification rights, viewpoints differ widely on issues concerning teen pregnancy. Today, there are many reasons why one may become pregnant at a young age. Many teens, as well as younger children, may not know how to say no to sexual pressure. They must realize that it is okay to use abstinence. Teens who have become sexually active at a young age say that they wish they would have waited. There are so many risks when becoming sexually active with teen pregnancy being at the top of the list. Teen pregnancy is a complicated issue worthy of serious discussion by today’s teens.
The probability that a teen will give birth to a child is greater that an adult giving birth. Many teens have made a pregnancy pact that thy will have and raise their babies together. This is one of the main causes of an increase in teen pregnancies. Following the decrease from the past fifteen years, teen birthrates had been increasing since 1991. Data shows that between 2005 and 2006 teen birthrates (ages 15-19) have increased by three percent (Ventura, “Teen Birth Rate Rises for First Time in 15 Years.”).
The largest increase was reported within African-American tens, which increased five percent, while the rate rose two percent for Hispanic teens, and three percent for Caucasian teens and four percent for African Indian teens (Ventura, “Teen Birth Rate Rises for First Time in 15 Years.”). Hollywood plays a major role in the increase in teen pregnancy due to sexual intercourse increasing in television shows. CW’s Gossip Girl has a major influence on the increase of teen pregnancy. Gossip Girl, due to its large role of sexual intercourse among teens, is one of the most influential television shows on TV today.
Education is the strongest tool society has for helping teens deal with the physical and emotional consequences of sex. From childhood, everyone has seen sex whether it be in the newsstands, on television or on the side of buses. While schools teach sex education, many only focus on abstinence so we ask – “Is sex education a good tool?” Many would say that sex education is a good tool to many, while others believe that sex education needs to not only include contraception, sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and pregnancy, but also the emotional aspects surrounding premarital sex. According to Kathleen Parker, article author in Emma Carson’s Teen Pregnancy, the government does not have the right to educate children about sex. Instead, she believes that is the right of parents (Berne 81).
Daniel Allott, author of Education Responsibility: Is Abstinence Education Best for Our Children? states that teens’ participation in sex education is associated with a higher risk of pregnancy and childbirth. He believes that sex education programs give teenagers the message that having sex is acceptable; therefore, they cannot be effective against reducing rates of teenage sex (Berne 82). According to the Physicians Resource Council, the drop in teen birth rates during the 1990’s was due to increased sexual abstinence (Berne 86).
According to SIECUS (Sexually Information and Education Council), ninety-three percent of parents of high school students believe that birth control and other methods of pregnancy prevention are appropriate programs in school (Berne 98). Young people are sexual human beings just as adults; sex education is a great tool that should be taught in schools. The goal is not to impose a certain lifestyle on teenagers, but to let them know if they involve themselves in sexual relations that it is okay. In doing so, one must remember to tell teens of the consequences of becoming sexually active.