Teenage Pregnancy

Published: 2021-09-14 20:35:09
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Category: Social Issues

Type of paper: Essay

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According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute (AGI), a nonprofit agency that focuses on sexual and reproductive health research, policy analysis, and public education, teenage pregnancy has adverse consequences for the parents, the child, and society. Pregnant teens are less likely to complete high school and attend college than teenagers who avoid pregnancy. Many teenage parents live below the poverty level and rely on welfare. The children of teenage parents receive inadequate medical care, have more problems in school, and spend more time in prison than children of adult parents. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (NCPTP) claims that teenage childbearing costs society about $6.9 billion annually; this estimate includes welfare and food stamp benefits, medical care expenses, lost tax revenue (teenage childbearing affects the parents' work patterns), incarceration expenses, and foster care. In an effort to reduce teenage pregnancy and the problems associated with it, policymakers have recently focused on what causes the widespread poverty and welfare dependence that teen moms experience and have attempted to devise solutions to these problems.

Some social critics argue that because pregnancy limits a teenager's opportunities for education and well-paying jobs, many are forced to accept welfare to support themselves and their children. Only 64 percent of teen moms graduate from high school or earn a general education diploma within two years after they would have graduated compared with 94 percent of teenage girls who do not give birth. This lack of education increases the risk of poverty and welfare dependence by severely restricting a young parent's opportunity for a lucrative job and financial independence. According to Kids Count, a project by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, "The failure to go further in school can limit the mother's employment options and increase the likelihood that she and her family will be poor. And the roughly one-fifth of adolescent moms who have more than one child are even more economically vulnerable. They might further delay finishing high school, putting them at greater risk of being slotted into low-wage jobs or facing prolonged unemployment, poverty, and welfare." According to Child Trends, a nonprofit research organization, nearly 80 percent of teen moms eventually go on welfare, and 55 percent of all mothers on welfare were teenagers at the time their first child was born.

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