Sunday, December 4, 2011

Title Page

College of Western Idaho

Teen Pregnancy Blog

Ariel Rivera
November 3, 2011
Leslie Jewkes
English 102-034W


Teen pregnancy has become what seems to be an “in thing” for teenagers.  Not just in Idaho but everywhere around the world.  Teen pregnancy is something that can and must be prevented.  Awareness about safe sex must happen sooner that in high school to help lower the rate of teen pregnancies.  Although teen pregnancies will never be eliminated, if everyone does their part in teaching kids about sex teen pregnancies will decrease.

Local Essay Revised- Teen Pregnancy in Idaho

College of Western Idaho

Teen Pregnancy in Idaho

Ariel Rivera
October 11, 2011
Leslie Jewkes
English 102-034W


          Teen pregnancy has affected many young boys and girls and can happen to anyone.  While this is true there are studies that show teen pregnancy usually occurs in a certain age group.  The city of Emmett established a law that is still used today to attempt to curb teen pregnancy.  This paper shows the view points from a teen mother and a school teacher on teen pregnancy; specifically their feelings about teen pregnancy in schools and parents doing their part to eliminate teen pregnancy. 

Teen Pregnancy in Idaho
Anyone can become a teen parent.  Parents and schools are not covering all the areas a teenager needs to know about sex and how to have sex safely.  This must change in order to decrease the amount of teens becoming pregnant.  Eliminating teen pregnancy is impossible, but raising awareness and education about safe sex ought to be done to help prevent teenagers from becoming teen parents.
            Teen pregnancy is a serious issue.  Teen pregnancy costs Idaho’s taxpayers $39 million dollars each year, which was last reviewed in the year 2004.  This $39 million dollars is being used for Medicaid, foster care, and incarceration (Craig).  Even though teen pregnancy is costing taxpayers an astounding $39 million dollars a year, Idaho has saved taxpayers roughly $26 million dollars because the teen birth rate has dropped 28 percent.  Three quarters of teen mothers are around the ages of 18-19, only a small portion of teen mothers are under the age of 15.  The money used on helping bail out teen mothers takes its toll and the money could instead be used for other social and economical issues.  It is understandable that these teen parents need help providing for children.  These situations could have been prevented and saved Idaho $39 million dollars.  Idaho started receiving government funding for abstinence programs, but Idaho noticed that after doing this that between the years 2004-2006 their teen pregnancy rate went up.  Rises in teen pregnancy lead Idaho to stop applying for the funding in the year 2007. 
            Children born to teen parents typically are not as educated as children born to parents that are in their twenties.  Children tend to have lower scores in all subjects when their parents are teen mothers.  Teenage parenting puts both the mother and the father two years behind in their education.  Fifty-one percent of teen mothers will have earned their high school diploma before reaching the age of 22, whereas 89% of women that did not get pregnant as teens will get their high school diploma.  Teen mothers are very likely to drop out of high school.  “Pick a statistic, and teen mothers are almost always worse,” says Leonard M. Lopoo, an associate professor of public administration at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University (Perper, 2010).  Although most teenager mothers do struggle with continuing their education and therefore influence the education of their kids I met with Erika Rivera who is a teen mother herself.  Erika had her son at the age of fifteen, and has made quite a life for herself.  When I asked Erika if having a child as a teenager affected any future goals she may have had Erika replied, “I mean I obviously changed my plans, I’m doing alright but I changed the way I went about things” (Rivera).  Erika has made quite the life for herself and her son.  Even though she encountered some struggles in her life, she is about to graduate from Boise State University, owns her own home and car, and has raised a smart young boy.
            A 1921 Idaho law states "Any unmarried person who shall have sex with an unmarried person of the opposite sex shall be found guilty of fornication." (Dow Jones & Company Inc.)  A pregnant junior attending school in Emmett was arrested from the schoolyard and taken to the local police station.  She was convicted of criminal fornication after applying for medical assistance.  Emmett’s law enforcement and attorneys are seeing this law as a way to curb the trend in teens having children.  Law officials are going after any teen that is getting pregnant and that then applies for government assistance.  Most of the people in Emmett believe that if teens do get pregnant then they should be responsible to pay for everything related to their child.  Not only was the town arresting teen parents they were also taking over 18 fathers to court for being with minors.  The town’s law enforcement and attorneys are taking this to full potential even though there have been more than 6000 other violations in recent decades.  Gem County prosecutor Douglas Varie says that this old law is a very powerful tool for combating teen pregnancy. "The cost is not just in welfare," he says. "A male child of a single teen mother is three times more likely to go to jail than a child with two parents"  (Dow Jones & Company Inc.).  Not all of the prosecutors feel the same about Varie’s new outlook on teen pregnancy.  "If you take on one case, you should take on them all," says Bruce Birch, prosecutor in nearby Payette County. "If I used that law, I would have to triple my staff" (Dow Jones & Company Inc.).  Teens are only being prosecuted in Gem County; however, imagine the damage it could do if every city prosecuted teen parents.  This law is helpful in frightening the teen parents from having sex but it is unfair to only prosecute teens and not adults that have kids out of wedlock and apply for government assistance.
            Studies have been shown that depression or certain types of teens are the ones who usually become teen parents.  There are 25% of girls that say they are depressed most, or all of the time.  8% of girls, who are not sexually active, fell the same way (VanLenten).  Research shows that it is most likely for a low-income, depressed teen to become pregnant rather than a teen that came from a happy, financially stable home.  With government assistance being harder to get, and the job market not being so easy to break into, it leaves even less opportunity for teen mothers.  With teen mothers not having assistance through the government and there being very few jobs, teen mothers have to seek help from their grandparents or parents making it harder for everyone around them to get by as well (Anderson).
            Teen pregnancy is something scary to experience.  Having gone through it twice myself I can understand the point of view of a teenage mother.  However, as a mother, I would not want the same things happening to my children, but no one wants that to happen.  Teen pregnancy will happen if it is going to happen, although I think that if you provide the needed information and open up to your children about sex, the chances of them becoming teen parents will decrease.

Works Cited
Bohnenblust, Steve, Dawn Larsen, and Amy S. Hedman.  “Relationship between Comprehensive Sex Education and Teen Pregnancy.”  American Journal of Health Studies.  17 Sept.  2011.  Scholarly Journal.
Craig, Kaylene.  Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention Program.  Craig, Kaylene, 2010.  Web.  16 Sept.  2011.
Dow Jones & Company Inc.  “Idaho County Tests A New Way to Curb Teen Sex: Prosecute --- Pregnant Girls and Boyfriends Get Hauled Into Court; Welfare Is the Real Issue”.  14 Feb.  2011.  Scholarly Journal.
Elizabeth Terry-Humen, Jennifer Manlove and Kristin A. Moore, “Playing Catch-Up: How Children Born to Teen Mothers Fare,” The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy/Child Trends, January 2005.  Scholarly Journal.
Hamilton, et al., “Births: Preliminary Data for 2007,” National Vital Statistics Reports, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, March 18, 2009, Web.  CQ Researcher.
Kate Perper, Kristen Peterson, and Jennifer Manlove, “Diploma Attainment among Teen Mothers,” Fact Sheet #2010-01, Child Trends, January 2010, Web.  CQ Researcher.
Kevin Freking, “States Reject Abstinence-only Funding from Federal Government,” The Associated Press, June 24, 2008, retrieved from Huffington Post blog, Web.  CQ Researcher
Moylan, Patti.  Personal Interview.  16 Sept.  2011.
Quoted in Pauline Anderson, “Distress Combined with Poverty Increases Risk for Teen Pregnancy,Medscape Medical News online, July 31, 2009, Web.  CQ Researcher.
Rachel Larris, “Appropriations Bill Ends Abstinence-Only Funding, Increases Family Planning,” RH Reality Check online, Dec. 15, 2009, Web.  CQ Researcher
Rivera, Erika.  Personal Interview.  14 Sept.  2011.
VanLenten, Barbara.  “Today’s Pregnant Teen:  How can healthcare professionals combat this prevalent pandemic?”  17 Sept.  2011.  Scholarly Journal.

Me...A Teen Mom?

Me…A Teen Mom?

            Usually when you are a teenager you have fun with your friends, spend most of your time doing your homework or playing sports but me teenage years were very different than others.  I met him my Sophomore year in high school, and our feelings were very strong from the beginning.  Daniel and I spent every minute together, or so we tried.  I was only a sixteen year old teen, as was he, and soon we would have our lives changed forever. 
            Teenage hormones are so strong and overwhelming and I gave into them.  Daniel and I had been dating for about five months and we were getting serious.  I talked to my mom about getting on birth control because my older sister became a teen mom at fifteen and I did not want that for myself.  I had gotten my birth control and was ready to start taking them but I noticed that I was starting to feel different.  I was expecting my period but it had not come.  I then took it upon myself to get a pregnancy test and my eyes widened as it read “PREGNANT”. 
            I was feeling the emotions of scared, nervous, and sad.  I did not know what to do.  I told Daniel who was just as scared as I was.  We ended up telling our families about two months later and they were shocked and disappointed to say the least.  My mom had been through this once before and my dad had passed away earlier that year.  Daniel’s parents are very old fashioned and wanted us to get married, which was out of the question.  Daniel’s parents had actually offered to adopt the baby and raise it as their own.  I could not even fathom knowing my child was in the same town and that I did not have the guts to be there for it.  I decided that I was going to follow through with the pregnancy and keep my baby.
            Seven months later Daniel and I were blessed with a eight pound two ounce baby girl.  She has blessed our lives more than I could even describe.  I am proud to say that Daniel and I graduated with our class on time and with great grades.  Destini never went without and always had what she needed because of the amazing, supportive family that Daniel and I had.
            Not all teenagers that get pregnant are as lucky as Daniel and I were.  I do not consider Destini a mistake, but a blessing.  I would never take her back or change anything that happened because then I would not have Destini and I would not be the person I am today. 

Teen Mom Take Two

Teen Mom Take Two

            After becoming a teen parent at seventeen I swore to myself that  I would stay on track and continue college.  At this point in my life I had my sixteen month old daughter, was living with Daniel, my boyfriend, working full-time at a doctors office, and going to school at Boise State University.  Daniel was also working full-time and going to Boise State University with me. 
            We were right on track with our plans of going to school, staying employed, and taking care of our little girl Destini.  Daniel and I were just nineteen years old and had now been together for two years.  We talked about marriage and if we thought that was going to be in the cards for us and we both agreed it was something we wanted to do.  Although we were only nineteen we had goofed around about possibly having another baby.  We wanted to give Destini a sibling and made the decision we only wanted two kids.  After discussing it more we wanted to wait on having another baby until after college.  Of course I would not be telling you this story if our plans had gone right.
            About a three weeks after deciding we wanted to postpone having another baby, I got a familiar symptoms I had experienced not too long ago.  I woke up on the day I should have gotten my time of the month and it did not come.  I immediately got a pregnancy test and it had read “+”.  I raced upstairs to tell Daniel, who was still asleep, and said “Daniel, I took a test and it said I am pregnant”.  He then replied, “Oh, sweet”.  I was shocked at his reaction and I, myself was feeling very nervous about doing it all over again but it was just weeks ago that we were wanting another baby. 
            Again Daniel and I were blessed with a sweet baby girl, Sydni.  We not exactly planned on having Sydni but we love her so much.  Destini and Sydni are two years apart and are now at ages four and two.  Both are healthy and are quite smart for their ages.  I was a teen mom not once, but twice.  I love being a mom and raising my girls.  I am back I school, and strive to do well in all that I do.  I am doing all that I do not only for myself but for my girls.  Daniel and I got married a year ago and I am happy that I now have a complete family.  I will not be having any more children because two is definitely enough for Daniel and I.


Visual Elements

My wonderful girls I had when I was a teen.
Destini on the left and Sydni on the right

Sisterly Love

Destini, Sydni and their cousin Adam.  Adam is the son of Erika.  Erika is one of my interviewers in my first essay.