06/15/11 — Lots at stake: Officials are right -- teen pregnancy is a strain on youths and community

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Lots at stake: Officials are right -- teen pregnancy is a strain on youths and community

It is a consequence that most of us know exists, but few of us probably realize just how significant it is -- teen pregnancy.

And it is not a problem that is unique to Wayne County, either. Just watch TV and you will see that.

But those who gathered for the special Wayne County Health Department community meeting Tuesday talked candidly about the aftermath that goes along with a teen pregnancy -- how many young parents struggle, how education becomes an issue, how costs rise for the community as it deals with these children that these young parents cannot afford.

The list goes on and on.

Tuesday's meeting was a good start, a conversation that needed to happen. Although we might not see the immediate consequences of teen pregnancies in our daily lives, there is no question that they are there and that there is a need for some action.

The issue is a complicated one. How in the world do you reach these children early enough to convince them that abstinence is the right idea and that if that is not the choice, that there are responsible practices they must use to make sure there is not an unplanned pregnancy? What do we do about repeat pregnancy teens? How do we convince young women that they are worth more than that and that they should set goals for their futures that do not involve motherhood at such a young age?

And then there are the practical concerns. What do we do about the costs -- social and economic -- that go along with supporting so young a family and the community help that is necessary to stop the cycle before it leads to more at-risk children?

It is time to talk seriously about this issue -- in the same candid manner residents did Tuesday.

That's the only way to get the perspective necessary to do something about it.

Published in Editorials on June 15, 2011 11:12 AM