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Some Real Facts
Wow! The “Baby Pains at Blue Ridge” article sure has released a storm of hellfire, hasn’t it!
The “Baby Pains” article that originally appeared in the Raider Reader was not a marvelous piece of serious journalism about the anguish of teen pregnancy, but rather something more along the lines of tabloid fodder. An enormous, wet-noodle lashing should go to the Raider Reader faculty advisor who approved it, for allowing the students to think what they presented was good journalism from the best possible angle.
One of the rebuttal letters is littered profusely with the word “FACTS,” so I thought it might be interesting to look up some real facts about teen pregnancy in the United States. Here are a few from the Planned Parenthood website, which incidentally, would be a terrific place to educate oneself about birth control!
The US teenage birth rate is the highest in the developed world. (Eight times as high as the freewheelin’ Netherlands!)
Each year approximately one million US teenagers become pregnant. (For comparison, this is the total number of teens between the ages of 15-19 that live in the state of Pennsylvania.)
Only about 64% of teen moms graduate from high school (or receive a GED).
Nearly 80% of teen moms eventually go on welfare.
Children born to teens are less likely to graduate from high school and more likely to become teen parents themselves.
Experts estimate that the annual costs of teen births totals about $7 billion in lost tax revenues, public assistance, child health care, foster care, and involvement with the criminal justice system.
Most everyone has acquaintances, friends or family members who were teen parents; some of those situations turned out quite well, others didn’t. The respondents in the January 5 issue should consider themselves tremendously blessed to be in the relatively good positions they say they are in, for as the statistics show, they are in the minority. Perhaps they may want to reflect on that before they go on the extreme defensive calling others with a different perspective “ignorant.”
Bonnie (Roosa) Bothell
Blue Ridge High School Class of 1983
TO THE EDITOR POLICY
Thank you, Susquehanna County Transcript
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