LatinaLista — One of the most urgent problems stalking Latino communities is teen pregnancies.
It’s always been known that Latina teens contributed disproportionately to the number of teenage pregnancies but the latest study done by the Guttmacher Institute shows that after a decline in the 1990s, teen pregnancy rates increased three percent in 2006.
The study finds that the increase in teen pregnancies and abortions correlates with federal promotion of abstinence-only programs.
Healthy Futures, created in 2006, wants to change those disturbing odds for Texas teens.
Our mission is to prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy among young adults in San Antonio and Texas.
We envision a community where (1) young people are empowered to make healthy, informed decisions about sex; (2) planned pregnancies are the social norm; (3) all parents are prepared for the challenge of parenthood; and (4) all children are wanted, cherished and cared for in a healthy environment.
Three ways Healthy Futures is succeeding in achieving its mission is through the formation of the Healthy Futures Alliance, a community coalition where people work together to empower teens, parents and young adults; through the promotion of abstinence-plus programs and partnering with other organizations to launch a new campaign called ME NOW…baby later.
The campaign’s web site offers straightforward information to teens about how not to get pregnant, either via abstinence or different contraception methods, where to find local clinics that supply the information the teen is looking for, personal stories of why choosing to be careful about sex is important and an extensive list of links of local helpful resources and national sites that talk about sex and sexuality (Editor’s note: Latina Lista is on this list).
One story shared on the site reflects the reality of too many Latino families:
I choose me now and baby later, not because I want to have as much fun as I can without the hindrance of any children, but because I do not want my children to go through some of the financial hardships I have had to go through.
I come from a predominately Hispanic background where many of the women in my family have become pregnant at a young age and not been able to continue their education beyond a high school diploma or GED. This in turn has only opened the doors for lower level jobs and wages and the harsh reality of raising a family off of vary minimal financial assets; thus, the creation of a burden for their children who may wish to continue their education. I choose not to be one of these young teen mothers whose education has to be stopped at high school so that I can care for my family.
I choose to pursue a higher education so that I may be able to ease the educational cost for my own children and provide them with a comfortable living situation, without having to see their parents struggle with the bills. I want my children to be able to have the college savings that none of my brothers or I have had the luxury of utilizing.