The National Campaign Raises Teen Pregnancy Awareness
Although teenage pregnancy in the United States has declined dramatically over the past two decades, the nation’s teen birth rate is still higher than in other developed countries like the United Kingdom and Canada. Teenage pregnancy statistics show that nearly 3 in 10 girls will become pregnant at least once before the age of 20. This is why May has been designated National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month by the federal government.
Recognizing that information is one of the strongest weapons to combat teen pregnancy, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy is focusing on getting teens to think carefully about choices that can lead to pregnancy. Throughout May, the organization is encouraging teens to visit StayTeen.org and complete an online quiz that will help connect decisions about sex and contraception with the possibility of pregnancy and the lifelong commitment of parenthood.
The National Campaign is a research-based nonprofit funded mostly by private donations. It was founded in 1996 with the initial goal of reducing teen pregnancy in the United States by one third over a 10-year period. When that goal was met in 2005, the organization expanded its mission to also reduce unplanned pregnancies among young adults.
The National Campaign seeks to improve the lives of children, families and communities by helping to ensure that children are born into two-parent families. The goal is to make sure parents are informed about the challenges of raising children and are committed to the task. The organization promotes responsible reproductive behavior on the part of both women and men and supports responsible policies in the public and private sectors. As a nonpartisan and non-ideological organization, The National Campaign relies on high-quality research and avoids value disagreements that can hinder progress on the issues of teen pregnancy and unwanted pregnancy among young adults.
Leaders and Membership
A board of directors provides direction for The National Campaign. Several advisory panels assist this governing group, focusing on media, research, medical issues, public policy and other key areas. The organization also hosts bipartisan panels in the Senate and House of Representatives. A staff of nearly 40 employees provides ongoing support for these efforts.
Initiatives and Achievements
The National Campaign’s most recent challenge for the country is to reduce the rate of unplanned pregnancies among women younger than 30. The plan for achieving this objective involves a two-part strategy:
- Coordinating a grassroots movement by working directly with young people.
- Working through the media, faith communities and other channels to influence social values.
Since its founding, The National Campaign has distributed more than 10 million pieces of informational material and had more than 30 million website visitors. The group has also spread its message through hundreds of television and radio spots and more than 10,000 newspaper articles.
For more than a decade, The National Campaign has promoted May 7 as the annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. The organization has reached more than 3 million young people through its online National Day Quiz, playing an important role in the 44 percent decline in teen pregnancy and 52 percent decline in teen birth rates since the early 1990s.
How to Get Involved
Child abuse, child neglect, child poverty, absent fathers, education failure and lack of workforce preparation are some of the negative consequences of teen pregnancies. The health of children is also affected by teen pregnancy because teen mothers are nearly twice as likely to avoid prenatal health care in their first trimester.
If you have an interest in the well being of children and families, there are several ways you can help The National Campaign.
In addition to subscribing to the Campaign EGRAM, the organization’s weekly electronic newsletter, you can make a financial contribution.
If you’d like to become directly involved in The National Campaign’s mission, internships are available during the fall, spring and summer semesters. The internship program provides a structured learning experience under the direct supervision of The National Campaign’s staff. There are also job opportunities in the organization’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. For additional information, visit The National Campaign’s Work Opportunities webpage.