Teens and Sex - Teen Pregnancy

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Teen Pregnancy

Before we venture into the controversial aspects of teen pregnancy, I think that it is imortant to answer a vital question brought up by one of our classmates. This question addresses how teen pregnancy has evolved and how times have changed to bring upon such a serious issue. To begin answering this question we must take a look back in time to the roles of women and men in our society. Teen pregnancy is not just a rare virus that has recently sprung up and will someday dissapear due to some type of cure. Adolescent pregnancy has plagued our country for over three centuries, but it is only more recently that we have noticed its growth and severe impact on many aspects of society.

The social change that lead to this visibility is not only based on a change in sexual behaviors, but it also is based on a change in the nature of adolescence. These changes begin with the decling of the average age of menarche. The average age for menarche in girls ten years ago was 14.2; this age has dropped by two years since then. The average age for menarche today is 12.2. This statistic suggests that since girls are capable of having children at younger ages they are also more apt to have sex at a younger age.

The social changes that effect these statistics deal with the raising of the average age of marriage, standard attitudes towards marriage as a sacred institution, and economic shifts which have led to a need for longer educational careers. These changes have produced pockets of urban poverty where education is often not valued or taken seriously.

Unfortunatly, the need for higher education is reflected in the fact that only at levels after high school has enrollment increased in recent years, and only in the late teens are whites more likely than blacks to enroll in an educational institution. Due to the demands of the economy many young people are dependent on their parents for a longer peroid of time which has left some groups without access to the economic options that allow them to prepare for the future.

Some of the reasons for the increased age in marriage stem from the changing roles of women in our society. Women are now more than ever participating in a mans work world, and dealing with such problems as maintaining their homes, the cost of childrearing, and the importance of an education.
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