Writing 122 / Per. 4
10 May 2010
To Tolerate or Not To Tolerate
Teen pregnancy costs the United States over $7 billion annually according to the National Campaign of Prevention. Although this number is astronomically high, the money donated is in fact put to good use. Students (7-12 grades) cannot comprehend the amount of responsibility, anxiety, and stress a teenage parent undergoes. As high school students do not have to face these factors they are inconsiderate to the amount of work a teen parent actually takes on. Nearly half (46%) of all 15–19-year-olds in the United States have had sex at least once according to MSNBC News. Every one of these teens partaking in sexual activity has the possibility of impregnating or becoming impregnated. Although, this same 46% of sexually active teens are probably against teen parents having financial aid from our government. Why? If they were in the same position their view may change. We as young adults should be more tolerant of teen parent’s financial needs and be more considerate to the struggles they are undergoing.
One in three teen girls in the United States is estimated to get pregnant at least once before age 20, according to About.com. While this is better than a decade ago, when the number was four in ten girls, it is still too high. Pregnancy has very important consequences for teen girls and teen boys, and their children. Having a baby as a teen makes it much harder for a boy or girl to reach their goals, such as finishing high school, going on to college, getting a good job, or getting married when they grow up, and poses additional challenges to the child as well. In a baby's first year alone, a parent can easily spend an average of $9,000-$11,000 annually according to surebaby.com. This money is for necessities, it is not optional. A teen parent has no realistic way of obtaining this money without support of some kind. What if the family of the teen decides to not or cannot help? The teen is left with no choice but to seek help from our government. It would be un-American to turn them away and make them live on the streets. So in what ways does our government help?
Our government and local community have developed numerous support programs such as; Women, Infant, and Child (WIC); offered at most local health departments. They offer a monthly supply of peanut butter, bread, milk, cereal, cheese, and formula just to name a few. Medicaid: which provides socialized medicine care, and it is to help those who cannot afford insurance on their own. Depending on income and whether it increases or decreases, a child is qualified until he/she is eighteen years old. Pediatrician: Every baby needs a doctor.
Another form of assistance that is provided to teen parents that is the most beneficial and is absolutely necessary is housing. Maternity group homes house unfortunate teen parents that have no were else to go. We as a nation cannot, and will not have a pregnant girl be living on the streets. Maternity Group homes provide housing and other support services for pregnant or parenting teenagers. They include house rules, supervision, limit of stay, and other standards witch help them stay structured. They are funded by local, state, and national networks. Almost all maternity group homes are operated and managed by community-based organizations. Some may have religious affiliations, while others are secular. The cost of operating maternity group homes varies depending on location, staffing, services provided, number of families served, and other factors. Among homes surveyed by SPAN in 2001, the annual cost per family ranged from $5,000 to $85,000, with a mean of about $36,000. Yet, when it comes to providing a home to a homeless teen and their child, the cost is priceless.
The next controversial issue that arises is educational aid from the government for teen moms. We will provide education to convicts in hopes that they become a positive influence on society but we discourage education being provided to teen parents? Some students see it as unfair that teen parents do get benefits such as President Obama’s new grant that pays for a teen parent’s education. But those individuals are simply selfish. Why wouldn’t we want to make education available to struggling teen parents? It costs a teen parent the same amount of money as college tuition to simply raise a child. Thus being they are obviously paying the same amount as the average student, just in a different way. If we educate those young individuals we are providing them with the opportunity to provide their child with a better life and a lesser chance of their child following the same paths their parent did. This in turn will benefit our society as a whole. It simply does not make since to rob an individual who is willing to work hard the chance of a better life, especially when they are raising the upcoming generation of America.
Each year in the U.S. almost one million teenagers become pregnant at huge costs to themselves, their children, and society. While the facts are clear, the issues of teenage pregnancy are complicated by our conflicting attitudes and behaviors. We as young Americans must put ourselves in someone else’s shoes for a day and consider their struggles. Teen pregnancy should never be promoted, yet the way to fix is not to shun. We should simply be more opened minded.
1. "Baby Care". Sure Baby. 16 April, 2010 .
2. Couric, Katie. "The 411: Teens and Sex". MSNBC News. 15 April, 2010 . 3. Hoffman, Saul. "Cost of Teen Childbearing ". The National Campaign against teen pregnancy.16 April, 2010 .
4. Hulsey, Lara. "What Are Maternity Group Homes?". MatheMatica Policy Research. 16 april, 2010 .
5. Lowen, Linda. "Teen Pregnancy Statistics in the US". About: Women’s Issues. 16 April, 2010 .