Drop in Milwaukee teen birth rate is cause for celebration

I’ve argued for years that the better way to reduce the incident of abortion is to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies. Luckily, the spouse supports that effort, too. For years we’ve donated to United Way of Greater Milwaukee and the programs they implement to support the inner city. For the last few, I’ve participated on a council for Women’s Initiative for that organization. One of the programs implemented is the Healthy Girls project. The program funds a number of local efforts to educate girls.

Teen pregnancy, especially among some ethnic groups, is as much a cultural problem as a health problem. Also needing to change is the violence against young girls. The best way to combat the problem is to take the message straight to the girls. Pearls for Teen Girls works to create peer relationships where abstinence and sexual respect are coached.

Initial ad campaigns drew the teens into awareness. “For a good time call” posters placed around the city had 14,000 teens dial in to hear one young mother’s plight.

Adults outside the inner city need to grasp the importance of participating in these initiatives, too. Ad campaigns featuring pregnant teenage boys turned a few heads.

The bottom text reads: Milwaukee has one of the highest teen birth rates in America, and it’s a burden the rest of us end up carrying, through higher taxes for healthcare, education and other services teen mothers can’t afford. So get beyond disturbed. Get involved at onemilwaukee.org.

There are a lot of agencies involved in this effort to reduce teen pregnancies. Milwaukee has taken an all-of-the-above approach to the problem, and it seems to be working. Everyone involved should take three minutes to cheer, and then get back to work. There’s a lot more to be accomplished. Remember they can do so much more with your financial support.

Here’s the original press release from the City of Milwaukee. Here’s the article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last Tuesday. To help with the Healthy Girls program or become better involved with United Way Milwaukee contact Molly Cary at 414-263-8112.