For Release: January 13, 2000
Teen Birth Tragedy: A Cry For Help
Its a tragic story. Yesterday, a 15 year-old girl gave birth and put her newborn baby into a dumpster.
"In a situation like this, it can be all too easy to blame the teenager," says Nancy Nelson, executive director of MOAPPP (the Minnesota Organization on Adolescent Pregnancy, Prevention and Parenting). "But, like most teens facing this type of situation, this young girl probably felt scared, confused and isolated. She needed help; but did she know where to turn or who to talk to? Probably not."
"As a community, we need to ensure teenagers have reliable, adult support networks," continues Nelson. "We need to ensure young women know where to go for help if they become pregnant so they can make healthy choices both for themselves and for the baby."
In Minnesota, more than 8,000 girls between age 15 and 19 get pregnant each year. More than 5,000 give birth. In Minneapolis, 875 teenagers give birth each year. While teen birth rates have been steadily declining over the past seven years both nationally and in Minnesota, teen birth rates in the Metro area have remained constant.
MOAPPP encourages families, schools, youth organizations, agencies and faith communities to support pregnancy prevention programs and practices so that young women and men can avoid the fear and devastation that can accompany early pregnancy.
However, when a teenager becomes pregnant they must have the physical and emotional support they need to properly care for themselves and their child.
"This is a wake up call," says Nelson. "Tragedies like this one can only be averted when we have created a supportive environment where young girls who are scared and confused can turn to knowledgeable, caring adults to get the help they need."
MOAPPP is a professional organization founded in 1991 to strengthen the policies and programs related to adolescent pregnancy, prevention and parenting in Minnesota. MOAPPP is the statewide leader in pregnancy prevention information exchange, awareness and advocacy.
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