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Local teen pregnancy rate tops state average

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Editor,

Teen pregnancy in Montana is an issue that has far-reaching implications. In addition to being costly to Montana’s taxpayers, teen pregnancy affects education and poverty rates in our state. Teen parents are less likely to complete high school or post-secondary education, more likely to live in poverty and have more unintended births than women who postpone childbearing until their twenties.

In Montana in 2008, 1,312 live births were reported among teenagers ages 19 and under for a rate of 50.4 per 1,000. Here in Lake County we observed 215 teen pregnancies, at a rate of 66.7 per every 1000 girls from 2006-2008, which is significantly higher than the state rate. 

Considering approximately 82% of teen pregnancies are unplanned and almost half of Montana’s high school students reported having had sexual intercourse at least once, this is an issue we can’t ignore. 

The Montana Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition (MTPPC) is made up of partners ranging from public health nurses to educators to parents and is dedicated to bringing Montanans together to address this issue. May is Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, and as a member of MTPPC, I urge all Montanans to support MTPPC on its goal to reduce teen pregnancy. 

For more information on MTPPC, please contact Suzanne at 457-2470.

Sheri Clark
Polson

 

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