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In Texas, Abstinence-Only Programs May Contribute To Teen Pregnancies

Jessica Chester was a tip tyro in high propagandize when she became profound during age 17. She went on to connoisseur from college while caring for sons Skylar and Ivory.

Courtesy of Jessica Chester


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Jessica Chester was a tip tyro in high propagandize when she became profound during age 17. She went on to connoisseur from college while caring for sons Skylar and Ivory.

Courtesy of Jessica Chester

To know since teen pregnancy rates are so high in Texas, accommodate Jessica Chester. When Chester was during in high propagandize in Garland, she motionless to attend a University of Texas during Dallas. She wanted to spin a doctor.

“I was tip of a class,” she says. “I had a GPA of 4.5, a full-tuition grant to UTD. we was not a stereotypical lady someone would demeanour during and say, ‘Oh, she’s going to get profound and dump out of school.’ “

But right before her comparison year of high school, Chester, afterwards 17, missed her period. She bought a pregnancy exam and told her mom to wait outward a lavatory door.

“I saw both lines came up,” Chester says. “I had tears and we remember usually opening a doorway and she was station there with her arms out and she usually wrapped me adult and hugged me. we usually cried and she told me it’s going to be OK.”

Chester’s mom had also been a teen mom, and so had her grandmother.

In Texas, about 35,000 teenagers and immature women get pregnant before they spin 20 any year. And while rates of teen pregnancy are on a decrease nationwide, in Texas a rate of decrease is slower.

Traditionally, a dual variables many ordinarily compared with high teen birth rates are preparation and poverty, though a new investigate co-authored by Dr. Julie DeCesare, an OB-GYN during a University of Florida in Pensacola, shows that there’s some-more during play.

“We tranquil for misery as a variable, and we found these 10 centers where their teen birth rates were many aloft than would be predicted,” she says.

Drop In Teen Pregnancies Is Due To More Contraceptives, Not Less Sex

DeCesare, whose investigate appears in a Jun emanate of a biography Obstetrics Gynecology, says several of those clusters were in Texas. The Dallas and San Antonio areas, for example, had teen pregnancy rates 50 percent and 40 percent above a inhabitant average.

Research shows teenagers everywhere are carrying sex, with about half of high propagandize students observant they’ve had passionate intercourse. Gwen Daverth, CEO of a Texas Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, says a high numbers in Texas simulate policy, not promiscuity.

“What we see is there are not supports in place,” Daverth says. “We’re not joining high-risk girl with contraception services. And we’re not ancillary girl in creation decisions to be abstinent.” The state needs to obey some-more on-going policies in other states, she says.

Chester with her then-boyfriend Marcus Chester and sons Ivory and Skylar. They have given married.

Courtesy of Jessica Chester


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Chester with her then-boyfriend Marcus Chester and sons Ivory and Skylar. They have given married.

Courtesy of Jessica Chester

For years, California has invested in extensive sex preparation and entrance to contraception, Daverth says. There, a teenage birth rate forsaken by 74 percent from 1991 to 2012. The teen birth rate in Texas also fell, though usually by 56 percent.

In South Carolina, immature women on Medicaid who have babies are offering a event to get a long-acting form of birth control right after they give birth. They’re also perplexing that proceed in tools of North Carolina. And Colorado subsidizes a cost of long-acting birth control. There, both abortions and teen birth rates are dropping faster than a inhabitant average.

Texas creates it tough for teenagers to get reproductive health care, Daverth says.

In Texas, if a 17-year-old mom wants medication birth control, in many cases she needs her parents’ permission. “Only us and Utah have a law that if you’re already a parent, we are a authorised medical defender of your baby though we can't make your possess medical decisions though a now-grandma involved,” Daverth says.

That’s partial of a reason, she notes, that Texas has a top rate of repeat teen pregnancies in a country.

After Skylar was born, Chester wasn’t given contraception conversing and still wasn’t certain where to go for help. Three months after she was profound again. She and her then-boyfriend, now-husband hadn’t satisfied she could get profound so shortly after carrying a baby. She was a full-time tyro during UT-Dallas during that point, double-majoring in molecular biology and business administration. But a preparation Chester never got, she says, was sex ed.

“In hindsight,” she says, “It’s like, ‘Dude, what were we all thinking? we came in 17, pregnant, since weren’t we all backing adult a draft and display me [my] options?’ “

Chester’s high propagandize taught abstinence-only sex ed, and a infancy of schools in Texas, possibly do that or don’t offer any sex preparation during al. But some-more districts do seem to be adopting “abstinence plus” — that still encourages avoidance though also includes information on other pregnancy impediment methods and intimately transmitted diseases. Still, abstinence-only preparation is king, and of course, some relatives aren’t gentle deliberating sex with teens, many like Chester’s mom wasn’t.

Nicole Hudgens, a process researcher with a socially regressive Texas Values open process group, supports abstinence-only preparation and says there are copiousness of options for immature moms who spin pregnant.

“There are so many places like predicament pregnancy centers that are means to assistance these girls that are in need,” Hudgens says.

Crisis pregnancy centers yield conversing and support for profound teenagers though don’t offer abortions or contraception.

Studies uncover entrance to contraception is pivotal to shortening a teen pregnancy rate. And according to a National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, teen pregnancies in Texas cost a state $1.1 billion any year. Gwen Daverth says a costs are due to mislaid salary and an increasing faith on amicable services.

“One of a things we know is that 60 percent of teen relatives will not connoisseur from high propagandize and usually 2 percent will go on to connoisseur from college,” Daverth says.

Jessica Chester did connoisseur from college. Her mom helped her by it, and she did finish adult holding out loans for day care, though she got a grade and during age 30 now has a pursuit doing village overdo and family planning.

“I have a lot of support with my mom alone,” Chester says. “I had a instance in front of me of [that removing profound young] doesn’t have to derail your plans, it doesn’t have to stop we from removing an preparation and a career.”

Chester with Ivory (left) 11, Skylar (right) 12, and Kameron (center), 21 months.

Lauren Silverman/KERA


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Chester with Ivory (left) 11, Skylar (right) 12, and Kameron (center), 21 months.

Lauren Silverman/KERA

Chester and Marcus got married in 2010 and in 2014 designed to have another baby — Kameron, now 21 months.

Sitting in a cot during her home in Garland, Chester admits it can be tough examination friends connoisseur with medical degrees or who are over along in their careers. Sometimes, she admits it can feel like she failed.

“Like we gave adult on my goals and dreams or messed them up. But when we demeanour during my children we don’t bewail a thing. I’m not sad,” she says by tears. “It’s usually a existence of meaningful my life is totally altered since of decisions we done as a teenager.”

Then Chester hears her comparison boys shouting upstairs, wipes her tears and goes to hearten them on.

That story was partial of the stating partnership with NPR, KERA and Kaiser Health News.