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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Keep the babies close, the contraceptives closer

    Teenage girls need to understand that sex leads to pregnancy.

    American teens are not getting the message. The United States gets the top spot for its rate of teen pregnancy among most industrialized countries. According to a study released earlier this month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 400,000 teens between 15 and 19 give birth in the United States each year. While this statistic is disturbing at a glance, there are also long-term implications. Babies require attention that girls in their teens should be using to study in school and prepare for college. In addition, having a child at such a young age is a psychological burden for girls that are still trying to understand themselves, let alone an infant.

    The worst part is trying to figure out what such young women were thinking when having sex. According to the CDC study, half of these teen mothers in the United States did not use contraception when they conceived their babies. Just to make things even more complicated, the report also found that 31 percent believed they could not get pregnant, and even worse, 8 percent of teen mothers believed their sexual counterpart was sterile during the time of conception.

    Teen pregnancy is a tough situation to discuss, but girls need to understand that sex and pregnancy go hand in hand.

    Teenage girls will be smarter when they are offered sex education that stops trying to be politically correct, and starts comprehensively explaining how pregnancy happens.

    Educators should not talk about sex and pregnancy separately. They need to make it clear that having sex is the predecessor to childbirth and being stuck feeding another human being for 18 years.

    People need to stop thinking that girls need sex education tailored to how old they are. On television and in school cafeterias, the discussion of sex is much more rampant than the discussion of having a baby. Teenagers only want to hear about the fun parts of growing up, but teen girls need to understand that birth control exists for a reason.

    American girls have many more opportunities than other girls around the world, but having a baby makes many of these choices vanish.

    — Megan Hurley is a journalism junior. She can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu or on Twitter via @WildcatOpinions.

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