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ITHACA NY -- Many teenage pregnancies arent accidental but intentional because of girls who see no life goals other than being a mother as realistically within their reach says Andrea Parrot PhD a Cornell University womens health and human sexuality expert Thats a major reason why most current sex and pregnancy prevention education efforts are ineffective at preventing teenage pregnancy and the US has an outrageous teen pregnancy rate -- the highest in the industrialized world said Parrot associate professor in the Department of Policy Analysis and Management in Cornells College of Human Ecology In the recent Cornell Cooperative Extension teleconference Womens Health Across the Generations which was downlinked to 15 sites across New York state in February Parrot advocated wider use of long-term multi-dimensional community-based programs that have proven successful because they offer hope for a brighter future and the means to achieve life goals other than motherhood Such programs are undoubtedly expensive However providing the program for a girl for several years will cost less than the social welfare medical and lost income costs for a teen mother in the first year she has the baby Parrot pointed out Effectively preventing teen pregnancies would save the billions of dollars society pays to support a teen mother her children and even her grandchildren often for a lifetime It also would break the cycle related to psychopathologies in our culture including drug and alcohol abuse fetal alcohol syndrome drug-induced birth defects dropping out of school crime domestic violence and poverty As a society we keep on paying and paying when our teens become mothers said Parrot who has been working in the area of teen sexuality for 20 years and is the co-author of the 1979 manual Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention A Team Approach Too many teenage girls see themselves as having nothing to strive for -- they cant see graduating from high school because they have few role models
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