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DEVASTATION OF ADOLESCENT PREGNANCY MUST BE TAUGHT TO GIRLS IN SCHOOL

As a first-year nursing student at Trocaire College, I chose to write my term paper on adolescent pregnancy, specifically targeting my research on the younger adolescent, age 14 and under. The physical, psychological, social and economic risks to this vulnerable segment of our society are both dramatic and devastating during pregnancy.

While providing free or affordable prenatal care, contraception availability and family planning services to women is commendable, it is not enough.

These younger women, in sexually mature but still growing bodies, need more. They need to know that pregnancy is dangerous to themselves and their infants. They need to know how their bodies work, how to properly use them and how to make an informed decision about sexual activity. They need to know about sexually transmitted diseases and how to prevent them. It is their right to know.

We can no longer say it is the parent's responsibility or let the church handle it. Parents and the church have been handling it for years, and the problem is bigger than ever.

The only other constant that children have besides church and family is school. Children are mandated by law to attend school. School is the perfect place to prepare our children with all the tools necessary to protect themselves from the devastation of adolescent pregnancy.

VIRGINIA G. JOHNS
Buffalo

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