Teen pregnancy rates in the U.S. are on the decline. Teens are practicing safer sex and reproductive health care is more accessible than ever before--at least in some places (ahem, not Texas). But there is still much progress to be made. Many schools still lack comprehensive sex ed for students. And young people, especially those from resource-starved communities, have limited options when faced with an unplanned pregnancy.
More often than not, teen parents face harsh moral criticism. Few commentaries point to the lack of choices and resources available to these young parents. Power Poetry understands the complexities of teen pregnancy and supports the reproductive choices--all of the different choices--young people make. We also believe that teens should have access to the important health and social supports they need as they make these important decisions.
- Who. Teen pregnancy affects women of all backgrounds. We see white teen mothers moms sensationalized on TV; yet, the media offers stinging critiques of young women of color who are pregnant or have a child. How do these images affect you? Are the teen parents you know like the teen parents you see in the media? Why does race play a factor in how teen moms are preceived?
- What. Teen moms are more likely to drop out of high school than their non-parent peers. Write a poem about being a teen mom at school. What can you and your school do to help teen moms and dads reach their educational and professional goals?
- Where. In the U.S., teen birth rates are more common in rural areas where youth have less access to reproductive health care and in states that have harsher abortion laws. Why?
- Why. The United States has a higher teen birth rate than any other developed nation. Do you think this is an important fact and how can you address it? Use your poetry to express how you feel and your experience.
- How (to be cool). If you know of someone who is a teen parent, give him or her support. Do your best to be a non-judgmental friend. If you're a teen parent (and have time), figure out ways to help other teen parents (hint: you can even write them some poems).
- Speak Up! Share your story via Power Poetry. You can use your words to help educate people about the difficulties teen parents often face. If you or someone you know is a teen parent, Power Poetry is here so you can be heard!
Bonus: Send your friends a text baby (yes, you read that right) from our friends at DoSomething.org to start the conversation about teen pregnancy. These texts will turn your phone into a (virtual) baby that cries, eats, and spits up. Do you have what it takes to be a parent?