A poll released today shows that Latinos in the U.S. believe that addressing teen pregnancy is a major priority – an even higher concern within their own communities than for other groups – and that access to birth control and sex education are critical.
The poll was released today by Planned Parenthood and the Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH) at the Silver School of Social Work at New York University to mark the start of National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, which runs through May. The poll surveyed 1,120 Latino adults 18 and older living in the U.S.
Key highlights of the poll findings include:
• 87% of Latinos surveyed said it is very important for teens to avoid getting pregnant or causing a pregnancy.
• 51% said avoiding teen pregnancy is even more important for Latinos than it is for other groups.
• Latinos in the survey overwhelmingly said that addressing teen pregnancy is a shared responsibility among parents, schools, the government, religion, and the media.
• Latinos support comprehensive sex education in high schools that includes topics such as sexually transmitted diseases (97%), healthy relationships (94%), abstinence (92%), birth control (91%), and sexual orientation (82%).
• One-third of respondents said that Latino teens have less access to birth control than other Americans.
“This poll is important because there’s been so little focus on Latino attitudes toward a problem that affects them disproportionately,” said Vincent Guilamo-Ramos, co-director of CLAFH and a professor at NYU’s Silver School of Social Work. “What we found was a broad agreement that teen pregnancy needs to be addressed and the ways in which that can be done.”
Leslie Kantor, vice president, education at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, said,: “ This new data is a roadmap for addressing teen pregnancy nationwide. The data clearly shows that Latinos see teen pregnancy as a major issue, that they believe we all have a role to play to
address it, and that they see access to birth control and comprehensive sex education in both middle and high school as critical.”
Teen pregnancy has declined since it peaked in 1990. In fact, recent data on teen birth shows it to be at the lowest level in recorded history. Despite declines, Latina teens give birth at a rate more than twice that of white non-Latina teens, and Latina teens are 1.5 times more likely than white non-Latina teen moms to have a repeat teen birth. Four in ten Latina teens will experience at least one pregnancy before the age of 20.
“Twenty-three percent of the nearly three million patients a year who rely on Planned Parenthood for birth control, cancer screenings, and other preventive care are Latino, and 32% of our sex education participants are Latino,” said Cecile Richards, CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “We take seriously our shared responsibility and are proud to partner with Latino families and community leaders to help prevent teen pregnancy.”
Starting October 1, people will begin enrolling in new health insurance programs under the Affordable Care Act – which includes coverage for birth control without a co-pay. Thousands of Latinos will be newly eligible for health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act. Teenagers will be covered under their parents’ health insurance plans.
In the data released today, nearly half of Latinos said that they believe Latino teens have less access to health insurance than other teenagers. However, one-third of survey respondents also said they aren’t sure how their own access to health care will change under the Affordable Care Act.
As part of National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, the Center for Latino and Adolescent Health has released a series of videos to accompany Families Talking Together (FTT), its family intervention program. FTT is designed to support communication between parents and teens about avoiding too-early sex or unsafe sex and to address social reasons that often lead teens to engage in these behaviors. Visit www.clafh.org to learn more about Families Talking Together.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With more than 750 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
The Center for Latino Adolescent and Family Health (CLAFH) at the NYU Silver School of Social Work investigates the role of the Latino family in shaping the development and well-being of Latino adolescents. Our research addresses key issues among Latino and other families and seeks to foster the development and evaluation of evidence-based interventions to prevent and reduce problem behaviors among youth. The Center serves as a link between the scientific community, Latino health and social service providers, and the broader Latino community. www.clafh.org .
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