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Checking OH Teens' Decision-Making on Teen Pregnancy Prevention Day

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May 5, 2010

COLUMBUS, Ohio - The National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy is Wednesday, May 5. In Ohio, local agencies are promoting a unique way to sharpen the critical thinking skills of young people who find themselves in risky intimate situations.

The new online quiz was unveiled the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. The organization hopes it will spread through social networking sites and be used by teachers, parents, caseworkers and anyone else involved in the lives of young people. Crystal Ward Allen, executive director, Public Children Services Association of Ohio, says the quiz tests teens' common sense im terms of avoiding unintended pregnancy.

"Whether it's an after-school situation or an evening party, the quiz gets them to think about those scenarios and figure out what they might do, what they might say to themselves, what they might say to a friend, how they might act."

The quiz is online at Allen points out that pregnancy at an early age can be a struggle, as well as a setback that is hard to shake as the young parents grow up.

"It often cuts short their education and their job training, and then they're often poorly-educated and underemployed in the future, which makes them a low-income, less productive citizen."

According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, the average cost for teen pregnancies to Ohio taxpayers is $1512 per teen birth. While Allen says plenty of young people can be good parents, she also sees a correlation between cases of child abuse and higher stress among those who had their children as teens.

"It's stressful because they're not emotionally ready; it's stressful because they're not financially secure. So, teen pregnancy prevention is a child abuse prevention strategy."

Ohio's teen pregnancy rate ranks around the middle compared to other states, with 40 births per 1,000 women. Allen and others support a bill now in the Ohio House to provide an optional comprehensive sex education plan for schools that would cover such topics as HIV/AIDS, contraceptives, and disease prevention methods.

Eric Mack, Public News Service - OH