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Text Illustrations

Pauley, J. (1995). Sex, teens, and public schools. NBC.

One million U.S. teenagers become pregnant each year.

U.S. has highest rates for teenage pregnancies, abortions, and child bearing in the industrialized world.

In 1970, 70% of U.S. teenage births were to married teenagers.

By 1990, 70% of U.S. teenage births were to unmarried teenagers.

The U.S. spends $34 billion a year in welfare payments to families headed by teenage mothers.

As mentioned in the documentary, "Nobody, not politicians, not pastors, nor parents know what to do about it." The following statistics are staggering:

Eighty-three percent of all babies born to teens are born to poor, low-income girls.

One third of teen mothers gives birth to a second baby within two years.

Two thirds of all teenage girls who become pregnant have been sexually or physically abused.

Seven out of ten teens become sexually active while in high school.

One out of four sexually active teens contracts a STD while in high school.

Four out of ten girls will become pregnant while teenagers.

Two out of ten girls will become teenage mothers.

Eight out of ten teen mothers drop out of school.

Eight out of ten of their children will grow up in poverty.

Pregnancy was accidental for about 60% of pregnant female teenagers. About 40% planned or hoped for their pregnancy.

The explanation from some who were interviewed is ambivalent. Cynthia Davis is an attractive 9th grade dropout, a fifteen-year-old, white female. She says, "I never thought it could happen to me. We have done it so often. The month we slowed down and were hardly touching each other...I never thought it would happen to me...Yes, I wasn't using any contraceptive...Yes, I kinda, not really, wanted to get pregnant. I didn't think it could happen to me; you know, it never had before. But I thought, maybe a baby would help bring us back together and stop the fighting between us."

Many young mothers talk about not having anyone to talk to about preventing pregnancies that come too early in life. Shares one teen mother, "I could never have talked to my mother about it."

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