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

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.

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.

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  • Malanoche
    January 1, 2009 at 5:21 pm

    exellent blog

  • Grandma
    January 1, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    What is it exactly you want the federal government to do? How about the parents of these children teach them to keep their legs shut and their pants zipped. Unfortunately, the Hispanic culture thinks having lots and lots of babies is a good thing, no matter how old you are.

  • Cassy
    January 1, 2009 at 8:14 pm

    I’m a bilingual teacher in a primarily Latino town. For 18 years now, I’ve been trying to instill so much in to my 4th graders; stuff about the future, going to school, making parents proud, having a plan. And yet, for the past 10 years or more, and without fail, they come to visit some years later with their babies! I want to cry, but I hide it, give the obligatory kisses, and tell them good luck. What are we to do?
    A non-latino colleague once said that this was happening because our culture allowed it; our willingness to accept and embrace our “fallen” teenagers was just setting them all up to fail.
    I’m struggling with that statement, with the factors, the reasons, and heartbroken by the outcomes.

  • mayanmx
    January 2, 2009 at 3:21 am

    I find this topic challenging. Its one I have been thinking about. Grandma is clearly wrongheaded just by the language used, there is a clear agenda, a regurgitation of the usual comments. Yet, Palin’s situation reveals that this problem impacts all young people regardless of race or culture.
    What I find interesting is that only a hundred years or so ago, people in the U.S. were often parents or married by age 15-18. With time passing, standards of living rising, we were suddenly able to question the emotional and spiritual impact of having babies young. I hear that concern in Cassy’s posting. We can all recognize the challenges faced in having a child young.
    Yet, there are advantages and these are what we often overlook, leading us away from a biological fact that we consistently seek to ignore. We are all physically at our prime at that time to have children. Teenagers’ impulses are the natural reply to urges designed by hormones, and the physical fitness of youth.
    I think we need to start speaking about this honestly — in the sense that we need to stop blaming teenagers for what are natural urges, and honestly discuss all the other elements that go into birthing and raising a baby. To consider the spiritual and emotional impacts as well. But, I believe the judgmental approaches to teen pregnancy are proving their own failure to reach teens and change behavior.
    Just something to think about. Oh, granny, catch up to the real world where there are no bad guys, just a bunch of humans making similar mistakes and reaching to become better.

  • Sandra
    January 2, 2009 at 8:00 am

    The problem is that the Latino culture is still stuck back in the pre-60’s era when producing many babies was popular for various reasons. Those reasons are no longer valid and in fact promote poverty in this day and age. Sex is romanicitized and for a male to produce a child at 16 is considered macho. These Quincinaras (spelliing?) are a signal to encourage adult activities at the age of 15 for a girl. If the culture doesn’t change it’s archaic attitudes about sex and procreation Latinos are dooming themselves to forever be below the rungs of civilized society.
    There is also a segment of that culture that produces many children to stay on the public dole also.

  • Ralph
    January 2, 2009 at 10:55 am

    A friend of mine is 15 years old. She’s in 10th grade. A straight-A student. She’s had me to encourage her for half her life now.
    It would be interesting to know whether Fernanda Rios had a caring adult male in her life. My guess would be “no”.

  • Sandra
    January 2, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    To be fair however, there is a certain segment of every ethnic group that relies on the public dole to support these numerous children that they produce.

  • Michaela
    January 3, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    I think that’s the idea Sandra. For these people to breed and breed and breed until they finally take over this country, viva la reconquista. They are well on their way and it is easier for them because they can leach off our system. I want to be Mexican in my next life.
    Sandra :
    To be fair however, there is a certain segment of every ethnic group that relies on the public dole to support these numerous children that they produce.

  • Monique
    January 5, 2009 at 3:34 pm

    I definitely agree. I have several cousins, who had babies in their teens.

  • Challis
    January 5, 2009 at 4:28 pm

    Thanks, Sandra for the extension of your comment to include people of all ethnicities.
    Michaela, grow up and grab onto a real arguement. All you are doing here is hating.
    Also, can someone please tell me how it is that you think undocumented citizens are on welfare?

  • Porter M Corn
    January 5, 2009 at 6:35 pm

    Another excellent article Marisa although I take extreme offense at Michalea’s use of the nativist term reserved for Hispanics (breeding)
    But I hope she does come back as a Mexicana in her next life. The Mexican women in my life have all been and continue to be faithful, truthful, intelligent and persons I can trust infinitely, unlike American women I have known.
    Grandma, I totally agreed with you until your last sentence. It’s up to the parents to teach these kids, not the government. The government can only step in after the damage is done. Cutesy little no-no pamphlets and videos are practically useless. It would only provide our politicians another pipe to pour our tax dollars into.
    Now Grandma, to your last statement.
    Mexico is a predominately Catholic and until recently, the Church was adamantly opposed to any form of birth control.
    That is changing with the better educated generation in Mexico now. In the US, they are much more liberal but again, it is the failure of the parents to control the children. And unfortunately, the government has tied parents hands in many ways. A good belt or willow switch across the ass works much better than a “time out”! It did for me!

  • franny
    January 6, 2009 at 3:39 am

    I am a high school student in an 80% Latino high school, and there have been various girls at my school that have been pregnant, which sadly are Latina, and it now seems like a norm in the campus.As a teenage Latina, I have noticed that most of the times teenage pregnancies occur is based on the lack of communication that Latino parents especially those that are immigrants with little or no education posses as well as the overall Latino cultural beliefs that play a major role in decisons within a traditional Latino household. A Latino parent, or more like a parent in my community, tends to focus so much on the what to put for food on the table that converstions like abstinence and sex are nonexistant, and if a kid asks, the first thing they ask is “where did you hear that,” and then they might get scolded. So with that, parents lose slight track of their kids and many girls who have gotten pregnant have not been exposed by the parent to the idea of “waiting,” and only know the basics that are taught in middle school which tend to be vague. As for the belief system, “protection” is shunned and abortions are a similar to a nightmare. This is something that at times is drilled to a kid during things like Bible study or catechism and this is the excuse I have heard many girls use, “oh well i couldn’t use the protection because it is against my religion,” which of course is ironic considering that religion in the first place doesn’t not allow premarital sex, but girls actually use that. Anyways to answer the question the feds cant do anything about trying to prevent teens from having kids, it all has to do with the ability of a parent to be able to speak to their child face to face and explain them the reprucusions that those actions can cause. And also, the Latino culture is not all open arms to their children popping babies like there is no tomorrow, it has to do with the situations that are prevalent amongst the own indiviudal families. I am part of that “hispanic culture” that is spoken of, and I would be kicked out of my house and shunned to the highest extremity if I were to pull a stunt like getting pregnant, so not everyone thinks having lots of babies is acceptable at any age.

  • Sandra
    January 6, 2009 at 8:13 am

    The illegal aliens get welfare through their citizen born children. I actually had to tell you that?

  • Marisa Treviño
    January 6, 2009 at 10:37 am

    Franny, thanks for writing. Several people have commented that my reference to the federal government would only lead to criminalizing the behavior. Actually, my line of thinking was that we need federal intervention as a consistent supplier of funds to keep whatever program would be adopted ongoing. The problem with nonprofits is that they run out of money, especially in these economic times. While we may think the government doesn’t have any money to spare, they always seem to find “pocket change” to apply or give away.

  • Challis
    January 6, 2009 at 11:34 am

    through their children, ok, now how does that work?
    the food stamps are given in a minor’s name?
    the section 8 housing is attributed to a minor?
    that doesn’t sound right to me.
    I am not trying to be funny, I really don’t understand how that would work.

  • Grandma
    January 6, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Illegal Aliens, Anchor Babies, and the American Medical Crisis
    The American medical system is in a state of crisis, with hospitals closing and insurance costs skyrocketing—and illegal aliens are a big part of the problem.
    By Linda Orlando
    If you’ve never heard the term “anchor baby,” then you need to. Here’s an example, outlined in the spring issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, that will boggle your mind. Cristobal Silverio entered the states illegally in 1997 to work as a fruit picker, bringing with him his wife and three children, all illegal aliens. The following year Mrs. Silverio gave birth to a fourth child, and with that birth the family had an “anchor baby”—an American citizen by birth, who provided the entire Silverio family with a free pass to remain in the United States permanently. Unfortunately the baby was born prematurely, spent three months in the neonatal incubator, and cost the San Joaquin Hospital more than $300,000. Meanwhile, the oldest Silverio daughter married an illegal alien and gave birth to her own anchor baby, and then Cristobal’s wife gave birth to yet another baby.
    Anchor babies are United States citizens from the moment they’re born, and they instantly qualify for public welfare aid. And over 300,000 anchor babies become citizens each year in the United States thanks to the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside.” The two Silverio anchor babies generate $1000 per month in public welfare funding for the family; the premature baby gets $600 a month for asthma, and the healthy baby gets $400. The Silverio family earned $18,000 last year for picking fruit, and the government gave them another $12,000 for their two anchor babies.
    Most illegal aliens do not have medical insurance. But lack of medical insurance doesn’t mean they don’t get medical care when they need it. Because of the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act of 1985, hospital emergency rooms are required by law to treat uninsured people without reimbursement whether or not they have insurance. As Cosman writes, “Anchor babies born to illegal aliens instantly qualify as citizens for welfare benefits and have caused enormous rises in Medicaid costs and stipends under Supplemental Security Income and Disability Income.”
    Although many Americans say that the United States benefits from the cheap labor that comes from south of the border, the increasing number of illegal aliens entering the country carries many hidden costs to our economy, such as uninsured medical costs and government support funds. Such costs are not only forcing the closure of hospitals and threatening to destroy the entire health care system of America, they are also risking the lives of Americans by bringing into the United States diseases for which no cure exists. According to Cosman, “many illegal aliens harbor fatal diseases that American medicine fought and vanquished long ago, such as drug-resistant tuberculosis, malaria, leprosy, plague, polio, dengue, and Chagas disease.” People who emigrate to the U.S. legally are required to demonstrate that they are free of communicable diseases and drug addiction if they want to qualify for lawful permanent residency green cards. Illegal aliens only have to cross the border and have a baby, without any medical examination, and everyone in the family is automatically a United States citizen.
    “The influx of illegal aliens has serious hidden medical consequences,” according to Cosman. “We judge reality primarily by what we see. But what we do not see can be more dangerous, more expensive, and more deadly than what is seen.” Cosman’s study discusses 84 California hospitals that have had to permanently close their doors as a direct result of the rising number of illegal aliens and their non-reimbursed tax on the American health care system. Over 50 hospitals in California have had to close during the past decade due to unpaid bills, and even more are expected to close in the next few years.

  • Sandra
    January 6, 2009 at 9:54 pm

    In certain states, workers are not even allowed to inquire as to immigration status! And there is also a lot of fraud. To believe that illegals are not getting benefits is either naive or to be in deep denial.
    American citizen children of poor families are entitled to a lot of perks like food stamps, free school lunches, etc. The remittances for them go to their parents to handle. It matters not what the status of their parents are.

  • Horace
    January 7, 2009 at 11:56 am

    How is it federal business that teenagers become pregnant. This is a family issue and not one of the government functions called out in the Constitution. Anyone else for the government involving themselves in the impregnation of females?

  • Challis
    January 7, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    Then there is this:
    Immigrants (and their U.S.-born children) have a small but positive net fiscal impact on the Arkansas state budget.The large and growing immigrant population was reflected in a fiscal impact on the state budget of $237 million in 2004 (taking into account the costs of education, health services, and corrections). Those costs were more than balanced by direct and indirect tax contributions of $257 million, resulting in a net surplus to the state budget of $19 million—approximately $158 per immigrant. Though education is calculated as a fiscal cost in this report, expenditures to educate immigrants’ children represent an important investment in Arkansas’ future workforce that could pay substantial returns to the state through increased worker productivity and economic growth.
    •Along with directly and indirectly generating almost $3 billion annually in Arkansas business revenues, immigrant workers contribute substantially to the economic output of the state and to the cost-competitiveness of key industries.
    (Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation study, Profile on Immigrants in Arkansas)

  • Sandra
    January 8, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    For every research project you can throw at me claimming that illegals are a net postive, I can post just as many that say otherwise and you know it. The bottom line net or positive is that they are here in violation of our immigration laws and must be removed.

  • Irma
    January 13, 2009 at 2:24 pm

    Europeans came to the Americas without an invitation. They came pillaged, murdered and raped everything in sight.
    From that perspective, Sandra – I would agree with you that “illegals”, foreigners if you will were very bad for the Americas.
    Now the foreigners and illegals dont want
    what is left of the natives to stay.
    My answer? Try removing millions of people,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • Sandra
    January 14, 2009 at 8:46 am

    Irma, you are trying to compare what the reconquistas are doing with what the white settlers did when they came here. But even that is a faulty comparison. The settlers were only coming here “for a better life.” This was basically unsettled wilderness when they came. There was NOTHING here in the way of an established nation, government, infrastructure. They did NOT come to “rape, pillage, and plunder.”
    The conflict came later after their numbers increased and the “indigenous” began to see them as a threat and encroaching on their way of life. Yes, the settlers killed Indians, but it was a two-way street. The Indians also brutalized and killed the whites. It was our first experiment with unfettered immigration and multiculturalism and it didn’t work out so well!
    It is a complete lie that the settlers came here to commit genocide against the Native Americans! Now with the Spanish it was different. They did not come here for freedom and to start a new society. They came here for Spain and Spain wanted the riches that they could plunder. It was a completely different history. You are just mixiing the history of the English and the Spanish into one big generic evil “white people.” But the settlement of the U.S. had nothing to do with the conquest and settlement of Mexico, Central & South America!
    And like I’ve pointed out before, centuries ago wars fought over land and resources were the norm and NOT the exception. The native tribes did so amongst each other way before the white man came. European countries were attacked again and again by other Europeans and by outsiders. Even the Spanish had lived under 800 years of Muslim rule before they came to the New World. It was the way of the world in those days. So to now single out Europeans for demonization is grossly unfair and wrong. Your beef should be with those who conquered YOUR homeland–Mexico. And not only are those people long dead, but they were a separate people than the ones who fought for independence from England and formed THIS nation!
    Of course, since they’d be shot in the streets for protesting THEIR governments South of the border, they come here where they feel safe in carrying out their seditious and unAmerican agenda. Cowards!
    You and yours entire worldview is skewed; you view this country as racist, oppressive, and you see yourselves as the eternal victims, even though you are the majority in 22 countries.
    Latinos run all of these countries and that isn’t enough for them because they can’t get their act together. They don’t realize that it is the PEOPLE who make up a particular country and that the country reflects its population’s values and attitudes. They blame everyone else for their failures and have basically given up on their own countries so they have to steal ours. They’ll only transform it into another Latin American failure.

  • Sandra
    January 14, 2009 at 8:54 am

    Irma, here is also where you go wrong. First of all, Cortez and the Spaniards couldn’t have conquered the Aztecs without their allies which were the tribes which the Aztecs had brutalized, raped, pillaged, and plundered before the Spaniards ever set foot on the land. As well, the North American natives were doing likewise before the English arrived here.
    Nobody is telling the “natives” to leave. They are all where they have been–right here in this country, as citizens and with control of their sovereign nations.
    Now if you are referring to Mexicans, nobody is telling them to leave their homeland (Mexico) either. Only Mexicans who are in the U.S. illegally are being asked to leave and return to their homelands which are here:

  • Sandra
    January 14, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Irma, perhaps this will shut you up once and for all and those like you who are still living in the past.
    It just amazes me how people like you openly express your hostility towards whites and your reconquista intentions, but expects us to just sit here wordlessly and without oppositon. Even the Native Americans fought back. They didn’t just sit there allowing themselves to be invaded while saying, “oh, we can’t oppose the white man because that would be ‘racist.'” Give me a break!
    And the reconquistas keep on bringing up how the “Europeans” did them wrong. Well, it’s a little more complicated than that! Like I pointed out, many of the tribes were fighting amongst themselves and some of them actually allied with the whites. And on top of that, we are not “Europeans” here anymore! We are all Americans, regardless of where our ancestors came from.
    If you and your ilk want to keep on bringing up the past, then you will also have to take responsibility for the tribes and people from the tribes that they conquered, enslaved, tortured, and killed.
    Of all of the battles and wars that have been fought since the dawn of time, and the land that has exchanged hands due to those wars, WE are the only ones who are supposed to excoriate ourselves because some whites at some point in this history managed to conquer the Native Americans? BS Irma! Go to Mexico and help the people there.
    And that’s another thing! What do you and yours do for the people of Mexico in Mexico? Absolutlely NOTHING. You just sit here as Americans and stab their own country in the back. Now I know why the Czechs deported millions of ethnic Germans after WW2. People with that mindset are only American in name only. They are Mexican in their hearts. Why aren’t they in Mexico helping their people???
    I can’t wait for you and your ilk to start claiming that you own Canada also because it is on the North American continent also.

  • Irma
    January 15, 2009 at 4:36 pm

    Ask the American Indian if the Americas were an “unsettled wilderness.” Latin Americans are basically what arose from
    the rape of the American Indian. Native
    Americans in the USA are what is left
    of the nomadic tribes that occupied
    what is now the United States.
    Why should I go to Mexico? I was born
    in the United States so was my mother.
    What will I do for Mexico? Lobby for
    comprehensive immigration reform in the US, better trade agreements and yes
    never hide the fact that my genes come
    Look, you seem to think that current occupation means ownership. Time, not the genocide of the American Indian, will determine who will be the majority in the US in the next century.
    The face of America is changing, just
    look at who is about to be sworn in as the next President of the United States.

  • Sandra
    January 16, 2009 at 7:58 am

    Take the so-called rapes of the Mexican indians up with Spain then. Like it or not you have Spanish blood flowing through your veins. You can’t just claim the native indian side of yourself. Oh sure, ALL of the Mestizo’s ancestors were all rape. LOL!
    If you are going to sympathize with illegal aliens from Mexico, then you should take your grieveances up with Mexico. The Mexican government refuses to take cae of their own citizens. Their ancestors were not from this neck of the woods.
    As I said, what gives you and your brown nationalists the right to the entire North American continent? Why are you salivating over taking over another country when you are already the majority in 22 other countries on the Western Hemisphere? How much is enough for you? Hotflash for you…Obama is HALF WHITE! The joke is on you! You are nothing but a stinkiing racist!
    And who committed that “genocide” Irma??? Well how could the Europeans (whites) have committed “genocide” against the indigenous if there was no such race as you suggested in another topic? Or did they exist at one time, but no longer? Do scientists know this yet? Maybe you should inform them. Maybe they can put a Caucasian skeleton in the Smithsonian.
    And as far as Obama being representative of the “changing face of the U.S.,” he is just as much Caucasian as he is black. In fact, he was RAISED by his WHITE mother and his WHITE grandparents, who paid his tuition to an elite private school in Hawaii, NOT his black father. So culturally, he is MORE WHITE than African American.
    But thanks for playing, Irma.

  • Sandra
    January 16, 2009 at 9:05 am

    Your genes are Mexican, Irma? Did you flunk biology? Mexican is a nationality, not a race for God’s sake! If you were born in this country you are a U.S.citizen, not a Mexican. You may be Mestizo by race just as I am white by race but my loyalty lays with the country of my birth, not white people just because they may share some similar genes with me and not with the country of my ancestors. You and your’s tribal mentality is what is dividing this country. You think along racial lines rather than thinking of yourselves as just Americans.

  • Carolina
    March 18, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    I read a statistic that Mexico’s birth rate is nowhere near the rate of US immigrated Mexicans. Therefore, there is no doubt that due to patterns of immigration, it is the large Latino underclass that finds having a baby at 15 “cute” and “fun.” I definitely make a distinction in different socioeconomic classes between Latinos. My father would disown me if I came home pregnant. I’m pretty close to positive he would throw me out of the house. But then again, I come from one of the few Latino families who seem to have standards anymore. Highest in dropouts, highest in pregnancies. Why is like many Latinos do EVERYTHING they can to stay poor?

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