“We just never talked about sex education in our house.”
That is one of the reasons why Rick Johansen from the Berrien County Health Department says a lot of teens get pregnant.
“It is tough to be a teen, because teens are bombarded by sex,” said Johansen.
In Berrien County, the number of pregnant teens is high, especially for black teenagers. The most recent numbers from 2010 show Berrien County has the highest rate of pregnancies among black teens in all of Michigan. However, the number is very comparable to other counties with similar demographics, so to say it is higher is a little bit of a misconception, because it is so similar, it is about the same.
Those demographics include things like less education, higher rates of poverty and more racial diversity. For Hartley though, it doesn’t matter where you live.
“I think if I had sex education and if my mom talked to me, ‘cause she was a single mom, about sex ed, I wouldn’t have had a baby at a young age. I mean, I am glad my children are here, but I wish I would have waited,” Hartley noted.
Johansen also recommends parents talk to their teenagers about sex and pregnancy.
There are programs offered in the county to help curb the teen pregnancy rate and to help young girls if they become pregnant, but those programs are limited because of a lack of funding.
(2010 is the most recent data available)TEEN PREGNANCY RATE MICHIGAN:
Teens, ages 15 to 19 had a pregnancy rate of 48.2 per 1,000 in 2010.BERRIEN COUNTY: Teens, ages 15 to 19 had a pregnancy rate of 63.2 per 1,000 in 2010. BLACK TEEN PREGNANCY RATE BERRIEN COUNTY: Black teens, ages 15 to 19 had a pregnancy rate of 128.3 per 1,000 in 2010. WAYNE COUNTY: Black teens, ages 15 to 19 had a pregnancy rate of 109.4 per 1,000 in 2010. KALAMAZOO COUNTY: Black teens, ages 15 to 19 had a pregnancy rate of 113.0 per 1,000 in 2010. GENESEE COUNTY:
Black teens, ages 15 to 19 had a pregnancy rate of 115.8 per 1,000 in 2010.