Publication Date

Winter 2-18-2012

Degree Name

MA in Sustainable Development

First Advisor

Nikoi Kote-Nikoi

Abstract

Teenage pregnancy emerged as a major social problem in the 1970’s; however, its frequency is by no means a recent social phenomenon. The appropriate age at which to marry, have sexual relations, conceive and give birth to a child has always been defined culturally. In the United States, this age has varied considerably across time, class, race, ethnicity, place, and gender. The presence and frequency of childbirth to teenage mothers has also varied over time with increased female education, the introduction of marriage later in life, as well as the legalization of abortions, to name a few. However, one thing is certain—despite negative cultural conceptions concerning teenage pregnancy and childbirth within developed countries, pregnancy among teenagers persists—with teen pregnancy rates in the United States nearly doubling the rates of other developed countries.

The Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy (The Alliance) is a Boston area organization dedicated to the prevention of teenage pregnancy through comprehensive sexual health education, as well as securing support services for existing pregnant and parenting teens in Massachusetts. This paper will outline the history of teen pregnancy in the United States, The Alliance’s current policy initiatives, as well as my contributions to The Alliance as a public policy intern and former teen parent.

Disciplines

Medicine and Health Sciences | Social and Behavioral Sciences

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