Although there has been a decrease in teenage pregnancy rates from 1991-2004 new data shows teenage pregnancy is now rising.
Each year almost 750,000 teenage women aged 15-19 become pregnant. Fifty percent or more of teenage pregnancies end in abortion in New York State, according to the National and Statewide statistics.
Stephanie Loranty, nurse at Batavia High School, said last year there were ten students who were pregnant. Four dropped out, one graduated, and five are still continuing on. Currently, two students are pregnant at the high school and one at the middle school.
27 percent of ninth graders in New York are sexually experienced and 17.4 percent are sexually active. As seniors 62.6 percent are sexually experienced and 49.1 percent are sexually active.
“It’s scary,” said Loranty on the statistics of sexually active teens, “It’s hard because you are around the kids every day and you know their emotional and insecure at times and you know the choices they make can have consequences on their whole life.”
7.1 percent of ninth graders had four or more partners in New York and 20.1 percent of seniors had four or more partners.
Loranty said she feels students do not understand the seriousness of STDs and there are not many educational opportunities for students besides what they learn in their health class.
When asked about how safe sex is promoted or talked about she said it really isn’t, mostly abstinence is.
Loranty said she wants to see more programs informing students of the risks of unprotected sex, and the importance of abstinence and safe sex, but it is a sensitive topic. She said this is where it gets hard because the line can easily be crossed with parents.
Loranty thinks a way to help teenagers make the right choice would be to start the health class at the freshman level.
She hopes one day the school budget will be able to afford electronic computer babies (mimics all the behaviors of a real life baby), instead of using flour babies.
Loranty nodded her head and sighed as she said, “It is not effective for them at all, and it just teaches them to be responsible for carrying an extra item around.”
Although these electronic babies would be much more effective, they are too costly.
“They are somewhere around $10, 000,” said Loranty.
Teenage pregnancy is also costly, from a press release teen childbearing in
New York cost taxpayers (federal, state, and local) at least $421 million in 2004.
Loranty’s advice for students who are pressured to be sexually active is, “Talk to someone and really think about your decisions.”
Her advice for parents, “Be involved, there are so many kids out there who don’t have any support.” She said even the little things matter. Just talking to them can create change. She hopes to see more programs implemented into the curriculum that are self-sufficient and involve parents.