Teenage pregnancy is simply defined as the state wherein a woman under the age of 20 becomes pregnant. There are a lot of factors causing teenage pregnancy. Most are individual factors but a lot of social and family issues are observed as well. The customs, moral principles, schooling, faith, and idea of the teenager all shape her choice of being pregnant and bearing children at a very young age. The use of “choice” is a rather debatable word here too, because some of the teenagers who became pregnant do not really have an option to choose otherwise, while some do not understand the consequences of the situation that they are heading into (“Teenage Pregnancy”, 2006).Teenage pregnancy is a worldwide issue. Every country, big and small, rich or poor have their own problems with the young having children of their own. Great Britain, Denmark, and Netherlands had once struggled with the teenage pregnancy statistics that they acquire each year (“Teenage Pregnancy”, 2006).Being a teenage mother has a high health risk not only to herself but to the child as well. These mothers have higher perinatal and maternal risks. The struggle to discourage teenage pregnancy of the U.S. government is also partly due to the limitation of fertility and other social reasons (Dangal, 2006).The purpose of this paper is to show what teenage pregnancy is and the several causes that contribute to its occurrence. The possible role of the government and its intervention in the possible prevention of teenage pregnancy will also be touched upon here, with the aim that the idea will be considered and eventually be practiced in the society.And inline with all the truths behind teenage pregnancies, the paper highly condones the idea that the society should assume responsibility for pregnant teenagers and the children that they bear. The society can assume other roles for this issue, and they do not necessarily have to carry the burden for the teenage mothers.II. Statistics on Teenage Pregnancies in the U.S.Teenage pregnancy is a public concern in North America as well, including the United States which is a country of diverse background. The teenage pregnancy rate in the United States is slowly declining, but the addition of new teenage mothers year after year does not really stop.Before 1990, statistic shows that the number of teenage parents is 84.5 to 117 per 1,000 women aged 15 to 19 in the entire continent. But between 1990 and 2000, the American teenage pregnancy rate went down by 27%. In 2000, the total number of U.S. teenage mothers is an astounding 840,000; although that is much lower than the previous number in 1990 which is nearly 200,000. In essence, it was estimated that 34% of American women become pregnant before they reach the age of 20. And most of these pregnancies are not intended at all. Research shows that 74% to 95% of the instances of teenage pregnancy are accidental, and that comprises about 25% of the entire pregnant women population, including adolescent parents (Weis, 2006).Statistics also show that these rates vary widely by race and ethnicity. In 2000, 56.9 per 1,000 women between 15 to 19 years of age are white teens; 132 out of 1,000 were Hispanic; while 151 per 1,000 were African American teens (Weis, 2006).Research also shows that teenage girls with older partners are more likely to be pregnant than those who have partners closer in age. It is further found out that 6.7% of the teenage mothers aged between 15 to 17 years old have partners that are 6 or more years older than they are. This group certainly has a higher pregnancy rate of 3.7 times higher than those whose partner is only more or less 2 years older than they (Weis, 2006).In 2001, the Center for Disease Control study reports that there were 362,953 births to girls ages 15 to 19. That is a rate of 45.9 per 1,000, which is the lowest it has been since age-at-birth records were first collected in 1940. By June of 2002, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention released a report announcing that births to girls 15 to 19 years old dropped nationwide by 5 percent from the previous year and 26% since 1991. A February 2002 National Vital Statistics Report, as published by the National Center for Health Statistics, states that the year 2000 birth rate among girls ages 15 to 19 was 32.5 per 1,000 for whites and 81.9 per 1,000 for blacks. This is a decrease of 25 percent and 31 percent, respectively, since 1991(Dash, 2003).But still, the United States has the higher rate of adolescent childbearing in the developed world, followed by Britain which has 30.8 births per 1,000 girls. New Zealand has 29.8 births per 1,000, as per the United Nations Children’s Fund. The country which has the lowest birth rate among teens is Korea at 2.9 births per 1,000 girls (Dash, 2003).II. Factors That Causes Teenage PregnanciesThere are several factors that cause teenage pregnancy not only in the U.S. but in the rest of the world in general, and one of the major factors of which is poverty. It was found out that teenage parents are disproportionately concentrated in the poor, often radically segregated communities as characterized by inferior housing, high crime, poor schools, and limited health services (Dash, 2003).Another contributing factor is that the teenage mother has once been in a care or in a foster home. One study found that women who had been in care of fostered were likely to become teenage mothers as those who had been brought up by both natural parents twice as much. Another study found that nearly 50% of girls leaving care became mothers with 18 to 24 months (Wakley and Chambers, 2001).Those who have low educational achievement are more likely to have pregnant teenage daughters. A significant portion of teenage mothers leave school with no qualifications. The rate is a high 40% in a certain study conducted. Girls who truant or who are excluded from school are at high risk. Not being in education, training or work after 16 years of age is also a factor (Wakley and Chambers, 2001).The children of teenage mothers themselves are 1.5 times more likely to become a teenage mother herself than is the daughter of an older mother (Wakley and Chambers, 2001). This instance is very common, because the daughter sees no harm as her mother had done it in the past. She is more likely to follow the steps of her mother that she could have assumed as a model.Sexual abuse is also a factor. It may be that young people lack the confidence to resist sexual pressure; even years after the abuse took place. It is also true if the woman has acquired mental heal problems either from that incident or other causes. There may be a link between mental health problems and increased likelihood of teenage pregnancy. Crime is also a factor. One study found that teenagers who had been in trouble with the police were likely to become teenage parents as those who had had no contact with the police (Wakley and Chambers, 2001).IV. The Society and Teenage PregnancyThe society should not assume responsibility for pregnant teenagers and the children they bear. Teenagers are in full control of their bodies and mindset. They freely decided to become pregnant either with or without their personal understanding of the consequences of what they are entering into.Currently, it is observed that people of government and private charitable agencies donate food and clothing and offer jobs to teenage mothers. There are government institutions that are tasked to try to turn the complex problem of teenage pregnancy around (Dash, 2003).There has been instances observed that the government is exerting more pressure on local education authorities to provide fulltime education for teenage mothers who are out of school for three weeks, which would consequently improve the educational prospects for teenage mothers in future (Wakley and Chambers, 2001).While all these seemed to be an ideal move towards the solution of the problem, the government may not be in the right position to do all these. The teenage mothers themselves should be responsible for all their actions, and all the outcomes of it. The government should not be given an added burden to further feed, clothe, house, and assist these teenage mothers. They should be able to do that on their own and not demand the government anything or everything; for the government did not want these to happen either. If the government extends its help to the teenage mothers and the children they bear, it would just seem as if the government itself is tolerating the whole situation. Furthermore, teenagers themselves and the rest of the society would feel that it is okay to engage in premarital sex and be pregnant at a very young age. Anyway, there would be a government and a society to help then with it. The government and the society should condemn teenage pregnancy. They should seek ways to stop it altogether, and should not contribute to its propagation instead.Instead of assuming responsibility to the teenage mothers and their children, the government should combine resources to further decline the number of teenage mothers every year. They should improve more on sex education and make it more accessible to teenagers, both inside and outside of school. Sex education classes should be regularly monitored and improved within the curriculum of all schools across the continent. Other than the actual lessons, leaflets and other similar reading materials should be widely sent and circulated around town, especially to those families with teenagers, both male and females alike. Sex education should start at home, with the parents being the accurate sources of information (Wakley and Chambers, 2001).The government and the society should also be more relaxed in the contraceptive purchase and consumption of teenagers. A lot of teens cannot control themselves from engaging in a sexual act with their partners during adolescence. It is then more advisable that these products be readily available to them. In 1996, the Kaiser Family Foundation study showed that 46% of adolescents that were surveyed said that they believed teenage pregnancy could have resulted from the failure to keep contraception at the ready. In the 1196 Seventeen magazine poll, 23% of the sexually-active young women admitted to having had unprotected sex with their partner who disdained the use of a condom. A 1997 PARADE poll had claimed that teenagers were embarrassed to buy birth control items or even request information from a doctor (“Teenage pregnancy”, 2006).The government can also choose to regulate the mass media which highly promotes premarital sex leading to teenage pregnancy. Statistics had shown that the TV shows and music had contributed in encouraging teenagers to get involved in sexual intercourse long before they are old enough. Mass media really play a big role (“Teenage pregnancy”, 2006).V. The Family and Teenage PregnancyThe family plays an important part in the prevention of teenage pregnancy. The parents should do their share of properly guiding and monitoring their children away from teenage pregnancy instances. Parents, even if they are busy working, should provide time to their children. They should be available for counseling, for confiding, and for supporting their teenagers in their every endeavor, especially when it comes to love and relationship problems.Parents who were unloving, inattentive and those who have failed to instill moral values to their children are likely to have teenage pregnancy happening in their homes. The breakdown of communication between parents and child, as well as inadequate parental supervision, all contributes to the occurrence of adolescent pregnancy (“Teenage Pregnancy”, 2006).Parents who do not have time for their kids are more likely to have children who will give in easily to peer pressure. Peer pressure is another factor causing teenage pregnancy. It found out that 76% of girls said they had sexual intercourse in response to their boyfriend’s desire for it. And one out of three young men aged between 15 to 17 years old had felt pressure from their male friends to have sex (“Teenage Pregnancy”, 2006).The parents, guardians, and other family members should all unite because they do play key roles in encouraging young adults to avoid early pregnancy. They should also join forces with schools, business houses, health care providers, the media, and religious institutions to keep the teenagers in the right track. They should all be the main source of information and messages of prevention programs on abstinence and personal responsibility. It is also their responsibility to keep these teenagers in school, the place where they belong at their tender age. They should be given clear pathways to college and eventually to a job that will give them hope and a reason to avoid pregnancy (Dangal, 2006).Moreover, the effects to a child of a teenage mother are alarming. The sons of teenagers are 2.7 times more likely to be incarcerated at some point during their 20’s when compared to the sons of older mothers and the children of young teen mothers are almost three times as likely to be behind bars at some point in their adolescence or early 20’s as are the children of mothers who delayed childbearing. Single parents with lower human capital and lower income may transmit to their children the kinds of economic and social disadvantage that give rise to adolescent crime (Dash, 2003).These facts should be enough for all parents to work against teenage pregnancy from happening to their own children. And proper supervision is the ultimate solution for it.VI. ConclusionA teenage mother’s life is going to be very difficult. Teenage pregnancy has a medical, psychological, and socioeconomic impact in a teen’s life. The life of the teenage mother is surely going to be altered. And her child is actually the one most affected in the whole situation. There is that risk of death during childbirth of the teenage mother, or the baby being premature of has low birth weight.The teenage mother’s education will definitely affected. She will most likely drop out of school. Without proper formal education, the future doesn’t hold much to her. She might not be given good employment opportunities. And consequently, her social class or standing may not improve; it may even be lowered down further.This is why the focus should be more on the prevention, and not on the cure. Teenage pregnancy should be controlled, if can’t altogether be stopped. The focus should be more on the move of the society against teenage pregnancy, and not on the direct caring of them.It is important that the teenagers understand the risks they are going into. They should be well aware of what could happen to them physically, emotionally, or socially if and when they become pregnant during their teens. Teenagers should feel on their own that teenage pregnancy is never an option, because it is a condition wherein they will feel most alone amidst all the troubles that come with the situation.Teenagers should despise the fact of giving into teenage pregnancy. They, by themselves, should be able to muster a firm resolve never to become pregnant during their younger age. And that love, partnership, and marriage will have its right time.