May is National Teen (Unintended) Pregnancy Prevention Month! The good news? Teen pregnancy rates have drastically declined in the past 50 years across all states. The not so good news? The US still has the highest teen unintended pregnancy rate in all of the industrialized world.
More good news? Unplanned teen pregnancy is totally preventable! Access to and knowledge about birth control options can significantly help lower the rate of unintended pregnancies among teens in California and nation-wide.
This month, celebrate the progress that’s already been made, learn the facts, learn your rights, and get involved to keep US teen pregnancy rates on the decline!
-About 77 percent of teen pregnancies are unintended. That means that among teens surveyed, 77 percent of those who end up pregnant did not want to become pregnant, or became pregnant “too soon.”
-Although many teen moms can be and are successful, 60% of teen moms drop out of high school, and less than 2% finish college by age 30. One-third of all female high school drop outs cite pregnancy as a main reason.
-California places 30th lowest in the nation for teen pregnancy rates
So, what can YOU do?
Know your Rights!
- Get Affordable Care – Uninsured? Low-income? No problem. Check out your options, whether it’s applying for Medi-Cal, or accessing California’s family planning program, Family PACT, for access to FREE sexual and reproductive services.
- Get Confidential Care– As a California teen, you have the right to free and confidential access to a variety of sexual and reproductive health care services, like birth control and STD testing and treatment. California law REQUIRES your doctor to ask for your consent before releasing any of your information. On your parent’s or someone else’s insurance and don’t want them to find out? Don’t worry! Learnabout the steps you need to take to keep that information private if you need to, so you can get the care you need.
- Get the Birth Control Method of Your Choice Covered – In 2016, CA passed SB 1053 to make sure that anyone with health insurance can receive full coverage for all contraception methods approved by the FDA! Find out what birth control method might be best for you.
- Get Out of School for Sensitive Services – California teens may be excused from school to access sexual and reproductive health services WITHOUT needing their parents' or guardians' permission and without them being notified.
-Support SB 1023, a new piece of legislation introduced this year, that seeks to help Californians, including teens, access sexual health services where they are - on their phones (through phone, video, or app) - -- AND have those services covered by their insurance.
-Educate others! Use hashtag #NTTPM to spread the word about National Teen Pregnancy Prevention month
Let’s be honest:
The only way to be sure to NOT be at risk for unintended pregnancy, is to NOT have sex. If you are sexually active, find a clinic near you and to talk to a provider about the birth control methods that could best meet your needs. You can also take this quiz to see how prepared you are to make big decisions about sex.
Get Involved with TeenSource
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This blog was reposted from TeenSource.org, a project of Essential Access Health. TeenSource.org is an online hub for comprehensive and teen-friendly information on birth control, STDs, relationships and teen’s rights to accessing sensitive services. The site features youth-developed blogs and videos, a clinic finder, a Condom Access Project and links to TeenSource social media where youth can stay updated on relevant sexual and reproductive health information and news.