Lowering Rate Of Latina Teen Motherhood: What Works?

Though corporate entities like Nike and Pepsi have found a way to peddle their wares to the Latino populace, the folks attempting to decrease teen pregnancy in Hispanic communities have not had the same sort of marketing success, says Newsweek. Rates of teenage motherhood remain at 51% for Latina teens, and while African American teens are still giving birth at 58%, the instances of teen pregnancy are "declining at a considerably slower pace." To combat the consistently high rates, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy is launching a Latino Initiative. Differences between the Latino community and the white and black communities are not just language-based, according to the Initiative. Campaigns that work in the white community can come off as "anti-baby" or "anti-family."

According to a focus group in California, "community workers felt that men do not participate in the [contraceptive] process because they do not want to be viewed as being told what to do by their wives. One female participant even revealed that she used contraceptives without her partner's knowledge because of 'his accusations that her use of contraception is a mechanism to have an affair with other men [without becoming pregnant].'"


The Latino Initiative hopes to reach teens by emphasizing the importance of family and planning. The group has penned a manual that "Stresses the importance of using traditional Hispanic values—familismo (family-centeredness), simpatía (affection), respeto (respect)—as a compass." The pamphlet encourages teens not to get pregnant out of respect for their elders.

But are teen hormones any match for the amorphous notion of respect? Wouldn't the Initiative be better off handing out condoms?

Learning to 'Think Twice' [Newsweek]

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