As a policymaker, you play a key role in reducing teen pregnancy rates in South Carolina.
As you know, prevention programs like Fact Forward have proven remarkably effective over the last 20 years, reducing teen pregnancy rates by over 70%. But tackling this complex issue requires a sustained commitment and investment in our young people.
In order to reduce teen pregnancy rates and the spread of STIs, consider the following:
Sex education has been a part of the public school curriculum in South Carolina since our state passed the Comprehensive Health Education Act in 1988. The CHEA mandates that high school students receive 750 minutes of instruction in reproductive health and pregnancy prevention. Empowering young people to make smarter sexual health decisions begins with education; you can help ensure that teens have the information and resources they need to prevent pregnancies and STIs.
Make sure that schools in your districts are complying with the law and offering evidence-based reproductive health education (the majority of school districts are not currently in compliance).
Want to take it a step further? Help schools find and implement evidence-based programs that can help reduce risky behaviors and prevent teen pregnancy.
Parents are the best sex education resource for their children. When parents and children communicate about sex, children are more likely to delay sex and use contraception when they do become sexually active.
Support Your Community
Not every teen is going to feel comfortable talking to their parents, but every teen should have a trusted adult who they can talk to. Support organizations in your community that provide opportunities for adults to mentor young people.
Support At-Risk Youth
We know there are young people in our state who need extra attention. These are adolescents who maybe be in foster care or the Department of Juvenile Justice. Be sure to invest in systems to protect these teens and empower them to make good decisions.
Get the Facts
The cost of inaction is too high. Teen pregnancy has an impact on our taxpayers, on at-risk youth, and on the children of teen parents.
- South Carolina’s taxpayers spent a total of $4.5 billion on teen births between 1991 and 2010.
- 9 in 10 voters in South Carolina believe sex education in public schools should contain information that emphasizes abstinence and teaches about contraception.
- 83% of South Carolinians support comprehensive sex education.
- Nearly 1 in 3 teen girls who have dropped out of high school cite early pregnancy or parenthood as a key reason.
- Teen pregnancy is linked to many social disparities in our state such as poverty, child wellbeing, and unemployment.
- Adults and teens both agree it would be easier to postpone sexual activity and pregnancy if they were able to talk openly with their parents.
The ayes have it
83% of South Carolinians support comprehensive sex education.