The unintended pregnancy rate in the United States is significantly higher than in many other developed countries. Currently, about half (51%) of the 6.6 million pregnancies in the United States each year are unintended. Unintended pregnancies among adolescents are particularly high in Texas. Today, Texas teens are less likely than their national peers to use condoms, oral contraceptives, or any other method of contraception during sexual intercourse. Each year, more than 76,000 Texas girls between the ages of 15 and 19 become pregnant, giving the state the third highest teenage pregnancy rate in the United States. Despite these growing numbers, many public schools in Texas teach an abstinence-only curriculum, leaving a large number of teens without the sexual and reproductive health information they desperately need.
EngenderHealth is working to change this. In Travis County, where the teen pregnancy rate exceeds that of the state’s, we work directly with young people between the ages of 14 and 16 who are at a high risk of becoming teen parents. And in both Austin and Dallas, we are partnering with Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas to educate young people about how traditional gender norms and intimate partner violence can influence their risk of pregnancy. Our work in Texas equips teens with the tools they need to make smart decisions about their sexual and reproductive health and to determine their own futures.