October 17, 2008
Latinitas, (www.latinitas magazine.org) the first digital magazine made for and by Hispanic girls, knows firsthand the effects of abstinence only sex-education, being America’s sub-group that experiences the highest level of teen pregnancy than any other community in the United States.
According the U.S. Census bureau, 53 percent of Hispanic teens get pregnant at least once before age 20, which is nearly twice the national average. Research also shows that 69 percent of those teenage moms end of up dropping out of high school.
This trend has plagued the Hispanic community for generations and the rates show no signs of going down.
Girls who contribute to Latinitas magazines are concerned about Vice Presidential-candidate Sarah Palin’s abstinence-only in sexual education voting stance, despite her own 17 year old daughter’s pregnancy.
“The abstinence policy that Palin supports didn’t work in her own home, yet she expects people to believe that it will work for others, who have even more limited access to reproductive health services”, said Latinitas’ editor Laura Donnelly.
Latinitas is responding to Palin’s broadcast comments stating, “Explicit sex-education programs will not find my support.” quoted from the Eagle Forum, a conservative pro-life web forum.
“They need to teach us about [sex ed] because if we don’t know about it, how can we prevent it (pregnancy),” said Magna Ramos, a junior reporter for the magazine who participates in Latinitas’ after school programs in Austin.
According to the U.S. Census bureau Hispanics are the fastest growing minority group in the U.S., so what goes on in this community strongly impacts the nation. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that children born to teen mothers are less likely to succeed in school. Texas “boasts” the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the country and coincidentally employs abstinence-only sex education in schools statewide. Additional statistics show that children of teen mothers are more apt to a life of poverty.
“Maybe Palin needs to meet the 6th and 7th graders in the schools we work in who are going to be mothers this year in order to understand the urgency of thorough and inclusive sex education in the United States. So strongly libertarian in other ways, why wouldn’t she want to give young Latinas all the information they need so that they can make their own prepared decisions about sex?” said Donnelly. “An abstinence-only policy ignores the problem in the Latino community, and as a law maker you should want to do more to protect these young girls instead of alienating them.”
About Latinitas: Latinitas magazine (www.latinitas magazine.org) is a non-profit publication with outreach programs dedicated to the advancement and empowerment of Latina youth through media and technology. Its vision is that all young Latinas are strong and confident in their own image.