Adolescent Pregnancy Must Become a Priority for All Americans

Jane Fonda

Every day, more than 2,000 girls in America, age 15-19, give birth - in the wealthiest, most educated nation in the world! Neither you nor I should accept this statistic.

Today, May 6th is the National Day to Prevent
Teen Pregnancy.  It provides U.S. citizens an opportunity to engage in a national
dialogue centered on educating, engaging and empowering our youth by investing in them. This is an urgently needed conversation.

After more than a decade of dramatic
decline in adolescent pregnancy and birth rates, the United
has unexpectedly experienced increases in 2006 and 2007.  Even with the decline, our nation still ranks
first in adolescent pregnancy and birth rates in comparison to other
industrialized countries (almost double the next highest country!). The
reality is sobering: in the United
States one in three girls will become
pregnant before age 20, totaling more than 750,000 girls per year.

Michele Ozumba, President of the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, answers questions about teen pregnancy and what actually works to prevent it.

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In Georgia,
some advocates and service providers are having isolated successes, but the majority of programs are
struggling for the resources, support and training efforts necessary to have a
sustainable impact.  We can no longer
waste time and money.  Every day, more than 2,000 girls in America, age 15-19,
give birth – in the wealthiest, most educated nation in the world.  Neither you
nor I should accept this statistic.

My response
has, and will always be, accurate and age-appropriate adolescent pregnancy
prevention must be a priority at the state and federal levels. There must be a
systemic approach where health care providers, teachers, after-school programs,
government agencies, public health officials, parents and young people are
working together with a shared vision and clearly identifiable outcomes, using
proven practices and curricula.

Fortunately, in
a speech last week marking his first 100 days in office, President Obama
commented on forming a Presidential task force to investigate and provide
recommendations on reducing unintended pregnancies, especially among teens.  I
hope his Administration will utilize the scientific information already widely available to fund
programs that work reduce teen pregnancies, HIV and STDs and teach young people
to make healthy, responsible choices.  The
return on the investment will benefit us all.

the President cannot do it alone.  If
adolescent pregnancy prevention is to become a priority, then our strategy, as
advocates, must contain two key elements: civic engagement and education. The Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy
(G-CAPP), the
state-wide organization I founded, has as its mission to eliminate teen pregnancy
in Georgia and is doing so in a unique and dynamic way.  Starting today, G-CAPP will embark on a
groundbreaking, multi-tiered social
mobilization campaign to unify and amplify the voices of concerned individuals. 
We are launching to
bring together concerned people who want to see teen pregnancy rates at zero.
connects organizations, stakeholders and allies in a virtual meeting room where
information and ideas can be shared, discussed and utilized. It is a powerful
tool with unlimited potential. If you listen to the video comments of G-CAPP
President and CEO Michele Ozumba, it
becomes evident why "gPOWER" is
needed.  Our young men and women need to
be heard and we need to listen.  "gPOWER" provides us the space to do both.

Adolescent pregnancy prevention is an American issue. We
must invest in the future of young people to have literate healthy, productive, and economically
self-sustaining citizens.

Join the movement today.  Learn the facts, lend your voice and get

You have
the POWER to make a difference!

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