Kids these days! They just aren’t getting pregnant like they used to. The birth rate for young women ages 15 to 19 fell to its lowest ever recorded in 2010, according to new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. States with the lowest teen birth rates are in the Northeast with Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont and New Hampshire, while the highest are concentrated in the South/Southwest: Texas, Mississippi, Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico.
It might seem like great news that teen births have been declining over two decades. But the United States still has the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the industrialized world. It’s no surprise that the states “16 & Pregnant” casting agents drool over have the strictest abortion laws and also think abstinence-only sex ed actually works. [NY Times, NY Times (2)]
“I had been on a Nickelodeon show, ‘Zoey 101,’ and after we wrapped shooting, I just wanted to go home to Louisiana and finish high school, be a cheerleader, all that. Then I found out I was pregnant. I was 16. I’d had one boyfriend. It doesn’t make it perfect or all right. But I was judged for something that probably most everyone does … I was like every other teenager, except I had this last name … I believe in safety and birth control as prevention. But like many young girls… I was really scared to go to the doctor. And I was on a Nickelodeon show, and it (felt) especially embarrassing to ask someone to put me on birth control. I didn’t want to ask my doctor.
It’d be dumb to sit here and say that [four-year-old daughter] Maddie isn’t going to like a boy one day and she isn’t going to have a boyfriend. I’ll just have to handle that the best way that I can. Both her daddy and me will caution her (about having sex), and I would hope that she would not want to do that at all, but I have to make sure that I’m realistic too. I’ve got to figure out a way to communicate to her to make smart choices and make the best decisions she can.”
Whoa. Not that there is much competition, but Jamie Lynn Spears is the smartest-sounding member of the Magnificent Performing Spears Family by leaps and bounds. Jamie Lynn talked to Glamour magazine about getting pregnant at 16 and it made me feel empathetic towards her situation. Keep reading »
An Arkansas high school appointed two valedictorians in their Class of 2011, because the student with the highest GPA was black. According to a lawsuit by 18-year-old Kymberly Wimberly (yes, her real name), she was told earlier this year she would be valedictorian of McGehee Secondary School in Pine Bluff, AR, thanks to her nearly-straight A grades, Honors and AP classes. But Wimberly’s mother is an employee at McGehee Secondary School and overheard talk in the copy room that school personnel were concerned that having a black valedictorian would cause “a big mess.” According to Court House News Service, the high school was “predominantly white and 46 percent African-American,” and the implication is that some white families would resent having the black student’s success. So, on graduation day, both Wimberly and a white student, who had the number two GPA at the school, were both honored as valedictorians. The number three-ranking student, also white, then became the salutatorian. When Wimberly’s mother tried to protest the principal’s decision at a school board meeting, she was told she had filled out the wrong forms and was not permitted to speak.
Seriously, people? Keep reading »
We’ve grown used to seeing irresponsible teens and bad parenting on the MTV show “16 And Pregnant,” and that’s part of what makes it such a compelling and powerful watch. It teaches cocky adolescents that having a baby is more than just dressing infants in cute clothes and parading a kid around in a stroller at the park. But on last night’s special 1.5-hour long episode of the show, featuring anorexic pregnant teen Kayla, Kayla’s mother Deb was the truly horrific parent.
Kayla’s anorexia and struggle with her eating disorder made her pregnancy doubly difficult. Her complex and uncomfortable feelings about her body had her skipping meals and unwilling and unable to eat food, even though she knew taking in nutrients was absolutely necessary for the health of her child. But despite several close calls, and a complete lack of support from her mother, Kayla gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Over and over, we see Kayla express — in an articulate and nuanced way — how her eating disorder has skewed her brain’s ability to do what’s right for her baby. But then, just weeks after giving birth, and knowing that her daughter had long-struggled with anorexia, Deb asks her daughter to go on a diet with her. Keep reading »