Free birth control for teens a priority

Published 12:04 am Friday, February 17, 2012

Teenage pregnancy should be viewed as a childhood disease. I knew of a little girl several years ago who delivered a baby when she was 11 years old. She had gotten pregnant when she was 10!

Can you imagine how devastated her life was after having this awful disease — a horrible malady that left its mark on her for the rest of her life.

Teenage pregnancy is, without a doubt, a devastating disease. It is as devastating as say, polio. Polio condemns its victims to a life of misery on crutches or even death, while pregnancy condemns them to a life of misery living in poverty, staying at home and begging for welfare benefits, or possibly even dying.

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The baby has a near zero chance of obtaining a higher education. Not only does this disease of pregnancy ruin the mother’s life, it usually destroys the father’s life as well and even the grandparents’ lives in some cases. It is a horrible disease whose tentacles spread throughout the family and friends.

Studies have shown that teenage girls are, for the most part, very poor mothers.

Most unwed teenage mothers feel like they have been left holding the bag and wish they were free. Many teenage mothers soon tire of their new baby and try to shove it off onto someone else — usually the grandmother. Grandmother is usually too old and too tired to rear another family and discipline flies out the window.

This is an ideal environment for rearing a child that will one day grow up to join a gang, thieve, hurt or even kill you.

For that reason, teenage pregnancy impacts everybody with crime and welfare payments and is therefore everyone’s business.

Presently, there is great controversy pertaining to birth control in teenagers. It is due mostly to the fact that our present presidential administration is so out of touch with the American people and has tried to ram it down our throats against our wishes. However, medications such as birth control pills, “morning after” pills and devices such as intra-uterine contraceptives will be effective. Abstinence will not work.

Researchers at the Guttmacher Institute, a sexual and reproductive health think tank, say the pregnancy rate among teens is down 42 percent from 1990 to 2008, due primarily to the use of birth control medications. The abortion rate among teens, they say, has dropped 60 percent since 1990.

In my opinion, providing contraception to teenagers is a top priority.

However, it must be administered with the full knowledge and consent of the parents. Free contraceptives through the health department, to me, would be cost-saving for the state and life saving in the social well-being of our teenagers.


Ed Field

Natchez resident