Despite statistic’s showing teenage pregnancy has tremendously reduced over the past 20 years, the rate of teen pregnancy in Latin communities is now double the average in the United States. Additionally, Latinas are more-likely-than any other race to have a repeat birth before the age of 20.
According to a study done by CDC Vital Signs in 2014 “Per 1,000 Hispanic teens aged 15 to 17 years old, the birth rate was 25.5 percent, while the total birth rate per 1,000 teens across all ethnicities in the same age group was 14.1 percent.”
If teenage pregnancy is happening less and less, among other communities why do Latinas continue to have the highest rates? The answer may not be as simple as some may think, but it may have something to do with the unspoken rule many Hispanic households still abide by “sexual intercourse is not discussed or mentioned until adulthood.”
Traditionally in many Latin households, sexual intercourse is not talked about and if it is brought up it is usually with a religious undertone or with a firm stand on abstinence instead of an open discussion. Numerous believe the subject the issue still persists mainly due to not enough information being provided just a ton of rules and regulations that are not fully established or discussed.
Many Latinos do not speak to their children on the subject due to their own lack of knowledge and resources. There is also the idea of “if it is not discussed it’s probably not happening,” which is why when many Latinas do come up pregnant it becomes a huge shock to the entire family. Latin families are very close but when it comes to having an open discussion on a subject that is still seen as taboo there is a huge vow of silence that is set in stone and travels back centuries.
Not only are Latinos not getting the information that is needed to prevent teenage pregnancy, but countless studies have shown that knowledge of STDs and STI’s is little to none in predominant Latin communities. In addition, the information that is provided at schools is not being shared at home. Therefore, parents really have no understanding of how familiar their children are on the subject.
The issue of teen pregnancy in the Latin community goes beyond young mother’s raising children while still being children themselves, it has become an epidemic where girls are forced to drop out of high school without a diploma due to not having help or support when it comes to childcare. Those who do further their education are left with an abundance of tales to share of how difficult the process became once they had another life to take care of.
In a culture that is filled with so much love and joy, it is imperative that the community unites in helping future teens not only have the proper knowledge on how to prevent a pregnancy but also on the resources that are accessible to them. Its time the issue becomes less taboo and more of an open discussion.