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Stigma of teenage pregnancies reflects negatively on entire student body

Can teen pregnancy be prevented more than it has been?

A 2010 census shows that the number of sexually active teens that use condoms is much greater among 12th graders than 9th graders.

Teen pregnancy has seemed to be an ongoing debate among people of all ages. In most cases, though, it is frowned upon. Albeit, it is a considerable concern that many young teens have to face.

After interviewing multiple Park Rapids High School students, teen pregnancy isn't held in very high regard.

"It wouldn't look very good if there were a lot of pregnant girls at one school. Other people could get ideas," said senior Victoria Lutz.

The perception of pregnant girls is often seen as a situation to frown upon. There is often seen a lack of responsible parenting that reflects on the guardians of a parent-to-be. This is a very common misconception.

Recent studies from the Minnesota Organization of Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention, and Parenting (MOAPPP) have shown in their 2010 study that the teen pregnancy rates in Minnesota have dropped considerably in the last ten years. This, in turn, results in lower birth rates, reducing the number of teen mothers.

One questionable matter regarding teen pregnancy is types of prevention and frequency of use.

Junior Katie McBurney stated, "I see kids using mostly the pill and condoms, but I think kids just use condoms most of the time."

This is a good (and popular) type of prevention, but it is much safer and easier to prevent pregnancy by using multiple types of prevention and protection.

Birth control, whether the shot, patch, or pill, is another effective form of protection. In Minnesota, 33 percent of 9th grade females and 59 percent of 12th grade females reported using some form of birth control, generally the pill.

The MOAPPP statistics also showed that the number of sexually active 12th graders versus 9th graders who use condoms is considerably higher. This could be due to sexual education at an older age, or simply learning from experience, whether personal or observed.

The number of sexually active teens also affects the pregnancy and birth rates in Minnesota. In the 2010 MOAPPP report, 33 percent of 9th graders and 75 percent of 12th graders reported being sexually active. The rates of sexually active teens in Minnesota have shown to drop recently. Overall, the total rate decreased by 7.2 percent.

The MOAPPP statistics also show that the average rate of impregnation per day is 18 girls, and the daily birth rate is approximately 14 children.

So what is the main reason for teen pregnancy? If it is unplanned, how come it happens?

Park Rapids Senior Amber McGowan stated, "Kids aren't using protection."

Pregnancy happens without people knowing when it will. But there are a few simple ways to help keep it from happening unexpectedly.

"Use protection," McGowan said. "It's not that hard, and it's easier to take the time to protect yourself instead of planning for an unexpected baby."

Becoming a parent at a young age can also alter future plans. It can change almost every aspect of a teen's life.

"You wouldn't be able to hang out with your friends as much anymore," McBurney added. "If you go out, someone has to watch your kid. You can't lead a normal teen life anymore and you can never get it back."