National Organizations Unveil First-Ever Pledge to Prevent Latino Teen Pregnancy

Jun 29, 2010, 12:14 ET from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy

Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard and Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of Loveline and MTV's Teen Mom and Sixteen and Pregnant, support groups' teen pregnancy prevention efforts

WASHINGTON, June 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In a first-of-its-kind effort, national and local organizations that serve large numbers of Latino youth pledged to mobilize the Latino community to prevent teen pregnancy. The National Consensus Statement on Latino Teen Pregnancy Prevention, collaboratively developed by NCLR (National Council of La Raza), the largest national Latino civil rights and advocacy organization in the United States, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, and other organizations, identifies strategies and solutions to address the high rates of teen pregnancy in the Latino community.

"Research shows that 52% of Latinas will become pregnant before the age of 20, which can lead to serious consequences for their future," said Dr. Maria E. Rosa, Vice President of NCLR's Institute for Hispanic Health. "When a Latina teen becomes pregnant, this impacts her chances of graduating high school, having a successful career, and improving her socioeconomic status. This is unacceptable."

The Consensus Statement caught the attention of Dr. Drew Pinsky, host of Loveline and MTV's Teen Mom and Sixteen and Pregnant. "Communication is paramount to preventing teen pregnancy. In my work, I encourage parents and adults to engage teens in open dialogue about their sexual and emotional health," said Dr. Drew. "This Consensus Statement outlines the support that parents and teens need to engage in those conversations and make healthy decisions. The convening of organizations to create the Consensus Statement demonstrates the acknowledgment of how serious an issue teen pregnancy is. It is my hope that practitioners and policymakers take note and act."

"The good news is that rates of teen pregnancy and childbearing in the Latino community have declined dramatically over the past two decades, showing that progress is possible on a challenging social issue," said Ruthie Flores, Senior Manager of The National Campaign's Latino Initiative. "The bad news is that these impressive declines have stalled out in recent years. This new effort focusing on too-early pregnancy and childbearing in the Latino community could not be timelier."

"I commend this collaborative national effort to reduce teen pregnancies in the Latino community," said Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard (D–CA), author of the "Communities of Color Teenage Pregnancy Prevention Act of 2010," a bill that supports research and health education programs to help young women understand the long-term consequences of childbearing at a young age. "While addressing teen sexual behavior is complex, an effective strategy to reduce teen pregnancy in minority communities involves sexual health education that takes into consideration cultural and linguistic differences. With the right balance of education and support, we can, as a nation, do a much better job of reducing unintended teen pregnancies in minority communities."

The Consensus Statement will serve as a tool to unite national and local Latino-serving institutions to actively promote research, programs, and policies that are necessary to creating an environment that will lead to a sustainable reduction of Latino teen pregnancy. "NCLR is extremely proud that Latino leaders and youth organizations have agreed to open the dialogue on teen pregnancy and prevention so that our teens and our community can achieve their full potential," concluded Dr. Rosa.

Click here to read the Consensus Statement and view a full list of national organizations and community-based partners that have made a commitment to the core principles outlined in the Statement.

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SOURCE The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy