Wednesday, March 11, 2015

We Can Support Preventing Unintended Pregnancy without Shaming Young People

Preventing teenage pregnancy is a good goal, accomplishing this with sexual health education and access to birth control for young people is great. However, doing all of this without shaming, stigmatizing, and or disrespecting teenage families is GOOD, AMAZING, GREAT and possible. 

I love this piece by  Christian Aguilar, the Executive Director of COLOR, where she lays out how this is all possible.

Below are some of my favorite parts.

"The role of lawmakers is to work to meet the needs of people in our community. One critical area that we discuss at length is the important goal of making health care both available and affordable to every Coloradan, including reproductive health care such as contraception."
"Unfortunately, we often see programs that attempt to decrease unintended pregnancy do so by stigmatizing young people and young parents. Teen pregnancy is talked about as an epidemic with young parents positioned as a scourge on our community draining resources and causing catastrophic impacts on the bottom line of the economy. This is not only insulting, but also removed from the reality of young people who are facing unintended pregnancy. Many times the people hurt most by this limited thinking are young women of color. 
The fact is that right now there is a higher likelihood of young women in the Latina community to become pregnant at an earlier age. But we do not believe that young women in our community should be treated as pariahs. Latinas are more likely to live in areas with limited access to family planning services. Young women in our community are also dealing with the same obstacles of lack of insurance and money to pay for care, as well as difficulty obtaining comprehensive sexuality education and cultural or religious pressures around relationships and sex."
"We should look at how to create forward thinking policies and programs to address barriers to contraception. That means looking at effective, youth centered, health focused policies and working to create a cultural shift to ensure that we put the health of young people before judgments or agendas and stand by young parents as they raise their families. Parents need support regardless of age."
 Please click here to read the rest.