According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Hispanic and black Americans are still leading in high rates for teen births. The good news, however, is that they are on trend with the rest of the nation and are decreasing as well.
Hispanic teen births have dropped from 77.4% to 38%, black teen birth rates have fallen to 34.9% from its previous 61.9%, and birth rates for white teens have dropped from 26.7% to 17.3% in recent years.
Much of the success of these decreased rates could be due to the fact that roughly two clinics are opened each day in the U.S. with an expected 15,000 urgent care centers to be opened by 2019. As a result, more women and teens will have access to contraception and other healthcare services.
While these numbers do show a drastic decrease in birth rates, there is still much to be said about what is being done to change these numbers within the Hispanic and black communities.
“There needs to be a shift in the culture of parenting,” said Jayvon Muhammad, Midwife and CEO at the Marin City Health and Wellness Center in Oakland, CA. “We have to protect our girls instead of passively giving them permission to be sexually active.”
Muhammed explained that one woman had brought her 13-year-old daughter to the clinic for the Depo Prevara injection, which is a form of birth control. Although the daughter wasn’t yet sexually active, the mother said she just wanted her daughter to be safe.
“We don’t even tell our girls not to have sex. There has to be a cultural shift that raises our expectations of them,” Muhammed said. “The law in California says that girls 12 and up must have access to reproductive services. I ask parents everywhere if they want their 12-year-old being sexually active. They all say no.”