Teen pregnancy in the spotlight; church has been helping for years
Published: September 4, 2008
WASHINGTON (CNS) -- When Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the Republican Party's vice-presidential nominee, disclosed her teenage daughter's pregnancy, the announcement stirred a whirlwind of political commentary. For some, it also put a necessary spotlight on the real issue of teen pregnancy. For those working with pregnant teens on a daily basis, the news that 17-year-old Bristol Palin was five months pregnant may not have raised any eyebrows. "Pregnant and parenting teens is not a new phenomenon; it has been going on for a long time and it affects teens from all socioeconomic backgrounds," said Velma Brown-Walker, program director at Catholic Charities' Jadonal E. Ford Center for Adolescent Parenting in Chicago, which served 1,454 clients last year. The overall teen birthrate rose slightly in 2006 after steadily declining since 1991, according to the latest figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The report shows the birthrate for teens ages 15-19 rose 3 percent from 2005 to 2006. According to National Vital Statistics Reports, the most recently reported teen pregnancy rate from 2004 is 72.2 per 1,000 teens or 7.2 percent.
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