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Over recent years it seems that all the efforts to fight teen pregnancy are beginning to pay off Thanks to the continued dedication of our parents teachers and community leaders the young people today have more support and education concerning the dangers consequences and challenges of adolescent sex Currently at its lowest annual rate in over 20 years teen pregnancies have declined 14 percent in this decade alone But despite this recent downward trend the issue still stands prominently and remains a critical concern to everyone While these improving numbers are encouraging on the surface the number of children having children of their own remains higher than acceptable and progress must continue to be made planned Over half a million American teenage girls gave birth in 1997 close to 1 million actually became pregnant teen For many of the 500000 it was an unintended occurrence usually the result of young men and women having unprotected sex while relying on misinformation or none at all poor planning and failing to recognize the consequences that would arise from their actions For some however it was an intentional decision a decision based on unreliable emotions and unrealistic perceptions of parenthood Whatever the reason the vast majority were unmarried and unready to handle the responsibility demands and pressures of being a parent CONSEQUENCES Citing a recent report by the American Association of University Women Educational Foundation teen girls name sex and pregnancy as the number one issue they face today teen While the tragedy of unprepared parenthood is felt greatly in the short term the futures of both the mother and child are often compromised as well Premature parenting usually forces the mother to drop out of school and increases the likelihood that she will be poor and dependant as a young adult Nearly 70 percent of unmarried teen mothers end up on welfare Maynard 20 With the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the western
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