SC Campaign Releases Statement Regarding Information Released by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
Tuesday, May 19, 2015
In response to National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy's groundbreaking research, Forrest Alton, CEO of the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, releases the following statement.
"This report confirms what those of us living and working in South Carolina have known for some time. Young people growing up in rural communities, particularly the rural south, are growing up in environments that lack access to services, healthcare, and opportunities that some in more urban areas may take for granted. As a result, teens in rural areas are more likely to be more sexually active, less likely to use contraception, and more likely to become pregnant.
More importantly, these data remind us how complex an issue teen pregnancy can be. Factors found in the report to be particularly salient include poverty and other economic factors, access to health services, college enrollment, and the availability of recreational activities. All of these factors weigh heavily on adolescent health outcomes including teen pregnancy. Our view of prevention efforts must move beyond a simple answer of "more sex education" and start to address these more complex predictors. Simply and sadly put, the zip code in which a young person is growing up does, in fact, begin to predict whether or not they will become pregnant.
Although this information begins to confirm some long held assumptions about teen pregnancy in rural America, what can't be lost is that teen pregnancy is still very much an issue in urban communities too. In fact, the vast majority of pregnancies still exist in urban areas. Here in South Carolina, the ten communities (Allendale, Jasper, Dillon, Marlboro, Union, Chester, Colleton, Marion, Barnwell, and Cherokee) with the highest rate of teen births account for only 11% of the total number of teen births in the state. Conversely, 54% of all teen births in South Carolina occur in the following ten counties: Greenville, Spartanburg, Richland, Horry, Lexington, Anderson, Charleston, York, Aiken and Berkeley (click to see large map).
This issue has been challenging us for some time and is explained further in our publication Accelerating Progress, which was released just last year. Any information that furthers our understanding of where and why certain populations of youth are at risk is valuable, and will inform our work moving forward."
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For more information on rural health outcomes in South Carolina please contact:
South Carolina Office of Rural Health - Graham Adams, Ph.D. - Chief Executive Officer
South Carolina Rural Health Research Center - Jan Probst, Ph.D. - Director