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In a story that sounds ripped from the Lifetime Movie Network, some 90 students at Frayser Middle/High School in Memphis have either given birth this school year or are currently pregnant. The school, which is located in the predominately African-American Shelby County, receives Title 1 federal funding, as nearly 100% of the student body comes from low-income families. As such, the high number of young mothers is a cause for major concern.

According to AOL BV Spin, educators and researchers commissioned by the Memphis City Schools have developed “No Baby!”, a multimedia advertising campaign designed to encourage teens to take all steps to avoid pregnancy. The initiative will launch at Frayser and eventually expand to other schools in Memphis, where the teen pregnancy rate is more than double the national average. Girls Inc., an organization which has been active with young women for decades, will oversee the campaign.

WMC-TV, reports that “No Baby!” will NOT provide contraceptives and will encourage that teens practice abstinence. However, the initiative will provide information on how to use protection if one chooses to have sexual intercourse. The campaign, which has received some $250,000 in funding, will rely heavily upon social media to get its message across; ads will run on Twitter, Facebook, radio and television and appear on local billboards.

Abstinence-only programs have long since been under fire for their failure to provide supplies and information for the many teens that are determined to have sex no matter what. While “No Baby” is teaching about how to use contraceptives, by failing to make them available, it seems that there is still a level of condemnation of those kids who plan to have sexual intercourse. Do we want our teens having sex? Of course not, but history has shown us over and over again that it’s impossible to stop them. And considering how irresponsible young people can be, it seems like it would make more sense to arm them with EVERYTHING they need to protect themselves whenever possible.

Teen pregnancy rates in the United States, which had dropped in the early 1990s after nearly twenty years of steady increase, experienced a rise in 2006 for the first time in a decade. According to a 2010 study by the Guttmacher Institute, the pregnancy rate for African American girls between the ages of 15 and 19, the nationwide pregnancy rate fell by 45% between 1990 and 2005, before increasing slightly in 2006. In ten of Memphis’ zip codes, no less than 20 percent of teens have a baby, which is more than double the national average.

There is no question that something needs to be done in Memphis…and fast. However, will a campaign that promotes abstinence do much to sway a teen population that has become so comfortable with not just sex, but parenthood? The campaign will focus on girls, but it definitely takes two to make a child. Why are boys being left out of the equation?

Do you think that “No Baby” would be more effective if contraception was made available to teens? Sound off!

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  • c0c0puffz

    It starts with the parents. If they don’t have positive role models in their life to sit and talk with them about what they want to do with their future and safe sex, they will turn to their peers and learn from them. Maybe their own mom was young and got pregnant with them and they are repeating the cycle.

  • Shasta

    I would like to say a little something about this issue…. I was a teen mother at 14 years old… I am proud to say I am black and I make it… Although I am not proud of seeing this today for our kids… I have 3 daughters and proud to say neither one of my girls repeated the cycle… I came from an upper class family with both parents in the home… When you are sneaking having sex you really don’t think about gettin pregnant… I didn’t …. You always think its not gonna happen to me (in my younger days) However the best thing for parents is to talk to your kids at least weekly about about sex…however you feel comfortable…. I usually talk while driving … I made sure and dam sure I TALKed about it…. however I am 45 now …My kids are 31, 25 and 17 years old….

  • This is frustrating & sad. It seems like you have to start talking to your kids from YOUNG, like 8, since it seems like the forces that be will be influencing them all day. Kids have to face the media, friends and a ignorant mentality that appears to be pervasive that says “Pregnancy, No problem”
    By the grace of GOD I followed my parents direction. Not that I didn’t have sex, but that I ALWAYS protected myself. Bigger then pregnancy is STDs/STIs. My mother clearly let me know that I CANNOT reside in her home as a pregnant woman. Then she backed up her words by taking me to the GYN so I can learn about preventative measures, which DID NOT include Abortion. Then my father, the nurse, showed me the medical book full of pics of STDs & the effect of STIs on the body. That was all I needed. Some kids are obviously not so receptive. So…. what works? *Sigh*
    This story is sad as hell!!!

  • Lisa

    these kids need condoms!! abstinence only education will not work. it needs to be safe sex education and condoms should be provided to those who need them.

  • dvine

    what type of shyt is this.. 1st of all why didn’t they announce how many new fathers there are.. i’m sure they have fathered more than one child from more than one girl in the school. 2nd, why aren’t the parents taking their teens to the clinics to get BC, why aren’t the teens acting like they have the common sense to request it or make the boys/men wear condoms.. wtf, can’t anyone speak up.. why aren’t these damn boys taught to wear a condom and the reasons why.. WTF