Download An ’’Epidemic’’ of Adolescent Pregnancy?: Some Historical by Maris A. Vinovskis PDF

By Maris A. Vinovskis

In study rooms and in dwelling rooms, in examine associations and on Capitol Hill, teenage being pregnant is likely one of the such a lot debatable public problems with our day. but in spite of everything the research and govt attempt, what's particularly recognized concerning the challenge of adolescent being pregnant and the way to accommodate it? and what's the position of the social scientist and historian in a public factor of this type? during this learn, Maris Vinovskis--a favorite demographic historian and a player in either Carter's and Reagan's Presidential tasks on teenage pregnancy--sets those questions inside of a historic framework and discusses a bunch of present matters and coverage issues. Vinovskis starts off by means of studying adolescent sexuality and childbearing in early the US and comparing even if there has in truth been an ''epidemic'' of adolescent being pregnant in American historical past. within the following chapters, he addresses the increase of adolescent being pregnant as a countrywide factor and assesses the government's reaction to it, either in Congress and the Presidency. Bringing his designated skills as a historian and a coverage planner to his examine, Vinovskis deals readers a provocative new context for figuring out a urgent public factor of the Eighties.

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Additional info for An ’’Epidemic’’ of Adolescent Pregnancy?: Some Historical and Policy Considerations

Example text

1 percent during this period. 5 percent from 1977 to 1983. In other words, since 1970 a substantial decrease in the 26 FIGURE 2-1. S. Women Ages 15 to 19, 1920-1983 number of births as well as in the birth rate for females ages 15 to 19 has occurred. But the overall rates of teenage fertility do not reveal the complexities of the present situation. The health and social consequences of teenage childbearing are very different for girls ages eighteen or nineteen and girls in younger age groups. Most of the adverse consequences of teenage childbearing are associated with having children at very early ages rather than at eighteen or nineteen (Hayes, 1987; Norton, 1974).

Thus, while pregnancy among 28 AN "EPIDEMIC" OF ADOLESCENT PREGNANCY? 11 This historical perspective on adolescent pregnancy does not invalidate the need for dealing with early childbearing. Obviously, teenage pregnancy is a real problem in today's society. But it does raise questions about the sense of urgency and crisis generated by the supporters of the legislation in the Carter Administration and the 95th Congress. If the demographics of adolescent pregnancy were the major determinant of the need for federal policy, the Adolescent Health, Services, and Pregnancy Prevention Act of 1978 should have been introduced twenty years ago.

As a result, the total welfare cost of adolescent pregnancy today is much higher than in the past. S. Congress, House, Select Committee on Population, 1978a: 284-304). 7 percent) of the total AFDC expenditures in 1975. Furthermore, the AFDC costs of teenage childbearing greatly underestimate the actual costs to taxpayers because they do not include the cost of other federal programs such as Medicaid, food stamps, or state and local costs. Thus, while the Carter Administration and the 95th Congress had been concerned almost exclusively with the prevention of adolescent childbearing or the care of pregnant teenagers, they did not consider minimizing the costs to society by reducing the proportion of out-of-wedlock births.

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