Fifty-Three Percent of Latina Women Are Pregnant by the Time They’re Twenty

Young Latinas talking about their bodies, themselves, their health and happiness in a sex education group in Colorado (Courtesy: Rose Foundation)

Young Latinas talking about their bodies, themselves, their health and happiness in a sex education group in Colorado (Courtesy: Rose Foundation)

I guess this could be yet another opportunity for an anti-immigrant and -Latino bitch and moan by haters like Michael Savage and Glenn Beck, but this survey is too important to ignore. What is piercingly sad for me is that it is mostly attributable to sexism; that these young girls have dreams, want to go to college, and to delay motherhood for a stable, two-income, middle-class marriage. Instead, like young black girls, they explore, they have sex, and it only takes one encounter to make babies. The CNN report with video is here.

The survey found that:

• 74 percent of Latino teens believe that parents send one message about sex to their sons and a different message altogether to their daughters, possibly related to the Latino value of machismo.

• Latino teens believe that the most common reason teens do not use contraception is that they are afraid their parents might find out.

• 72 percent of sexually experienced teens say they wish they had waited.

• 34 percent of Latino teens believe that being a teen parent would prevent them from reaching their goals, but 47 percent say being a teen parent would simply delay them from reaching their goals.

• 76 percent said it is important to be married before starting a family.

Ruthie Flores, senior manager of the Latino Initiative, an arm of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy which sponsored the survey along with the National Council of La Raza, reported that, “There’s a big disconnect between pregnancy rates and what Latina families want and value.” Latino parents and their children polled high on the value of a college education and a productive career, in the ninety and eighty percentiles, respectively. Yet seventy-five percent of Latino youth reported that their parents spoke to them about sex and relationships, but only 50% said that their parents gave them information about contraception .

Flores added that teen pregnancy isn’t an isolated issue, that it is related to poverty and dropout rates. Indeed, only six in 10 Latinos complete high school, and out of those, 69% of Latino teen single mothers are dropouts. Furthermore, the children of teen single mothers were found to be less likely to excel in school. It’s a vicious circle that has to be curbed, because Latinos constitute the largest minority group in the United States. It also means that by 2025, 25% of all American teenagers will be Latino.

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~ by blksista on May 20, 2009.

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