Eighth grader’s New Year’s baby signals time for federal intervention in combatting Latina teen pregnancies

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LatinaLista — A New Year’s Day ritual in city newspapers across the country is to identify the first baby born in the New Year in that particular city. On the heels of the news that former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s 18-year-old daughter gave birth last week, teenage pregnancies as some of the first births of the New Year shouldn’t be surprising or alarming.

Axel Bladimir Ortiz, weighed in at 6 lbs., 11 oz. and is 19 1/2 inches long and was the first baby born at Washington Hospital Center.
(Source: myfoxdc.com)

Yet, when Dallas’ local newspaper reported that the first baby of the New Year was born to a 15-year-old eighth grader, it’s hard to be happy about that bundle of joy.

Justin Daniel Ramirez was born to Dallas eighth-grader Fernanda Rios, 15, who couldn’t stop smiling as she cradled her new son in her arms Thursday morning.
“I was nervous at first about what my mom would say, but I told her I would try my best and she said okay,” Fernanda said.
Fernanda will take six weeks off from school, and be home schooled while she gets to know Justin. She said her mother and cousin will help raise him, along with the boy’s father who also lives with her mother.

With 53 percent of Latina teens already getting pregnant before the age of 20, according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, it’s time that there be a federal response in creating a national program that combats this increasing trend before more young Latinas embrace motherhood before they’re even eligible to drive.