The Problem of Unwanted Teenage Pregnancy
In many modern societies, unwanted teenage pregnancy has been on the rise. A girl who has not reached legal adult age and is pregnant with a baby is defined as teenage pregnancy. Of course, the legal adult in different countries differs. In some countries, the adult age may be 18, while in others, the legal adult age may be 21.
Teenage pregnancy causes several problems for the teen herself, and for the people around her. The most immediate concern is that the teenage is not financially independent yet. So family members tend to worry about her livelihood. Without financial independence, child rearing responsibilities often fall on other family members like the parents.
Furthermore, as teenage pregnancy is often unplanned, the incident may throw all plans into disarray. For example, the teenage may have made plans to pursue an education or a new and exciting career. Now that a baby has come into the picture, all plans may have to be shelved. The baby has to come first.
Despite such undesirable consequences of teen pregnancy, why are teenagers all around the world still getting pregnant prematurely? Let's examine some causes.
In many third world countries, a large percentage of the population is not literate. Without opportunities for a proper education, they are ignorant of the consequences of teen pregnancy. Without an awareness of the responsibilities that come with child rearing, many teens engage in unprotected intimacy. As a result, they become pregnant even when they do not have the slightest intention of having a baby.
But the teen pregnancy problem is not exclusive to third world countries only. Developed countries have also been experiencing a rise in unwanted teen pregnancy. In such countries, educational opportunities are abundant. So why did teen pregnancy still happen?
This has more to do with the culture of the society. The culture of a society influences the behavior of the population. For example, if loose intimacy is heavily promoted by the media, the population will begin to think that such behavior is acceptable. Without social constrains, teenagers, being young and impressionable, are often the most easily influenced. They then engage in intimacy and this gives rise to unwanted teen pregnancy.
In addition, teen pregnancy occurs because in many societies, intimacy is a tabooed subject. It is not openly discussed in schools, and most parents are too embarassed to talk to their children about the subject. Without proper knowledge, the inevitable happens.
Once a teenager becomes pregnant, she has only two options. She can choose to abort the baby, or she can choose to carry the baby to full term. The issue on abortion has been debated by ethicists and scholars all over the world. It is never an easy decision to make. But if the teenager carries the baby to full term, other considerations such as financial implications makes the decision making process even harder.
Perhaps the only way around this problem is to seek preventive solutions. As the saying goes, prevention is always better than cure. This is especially true for the teenage pregnancy problem. A human life is at stake here.
Countries will have to adopt a more active approach in educating their citizens about proper contraceptive measures. Teen pregnancy is a serious problem, regardless of race, language or religion. There is no need to shy away from the subject. This will only cause more problems. The only right way to go about the teen pregnancy problem is to engage the issue fully.
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