In the News

Teen Moms Look for Support, But Find Only Shame

Friday, May 6, 2011
Miriam Zoila Perez
Colorlines.com

Senior Policy Analyst Veronica Bayetti Flores was quoted in this Colorlines.com article about teen pregnancy prevention and its impact on teen parents.

It’s a compelling formula—simply stop teen girls from having kids, and these disparities disappear. But the question that remains is what’s really behind these negative outcomes? Is young pregnancy and parenting the cause, or it a correlation with other risk factors, like socio-economic status and race, that recur at all ages? That’s what Verónica Bayetti Flores of the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (with which I have worked) believes.

“That data can be picked apart pretty easily,” she says. “If you look at those negative outcomes in terms of socioeconomic indicators, I think you’d see similar trends. It’s trying to place the blame on something that is more a symptom than a cause.”

Advocates like Bayetti Flores think that focusing narrowly on preventing pregnancy doesn’t address the root cause of these disparities, many of which exist among communities of similar socioeconomic status regardless of age of parenting. Instead, she argues, it turns a societal issue into an individual problem, where the blame for negative outcomes gets transferred onto the individual girls themselves—most frequently girls of color. Despite the fact that there are more white teen parents than teen parents of color overall, Latinas and African Americans are often the target of prevention programs because of the higher incidence of teen pregnancy and parenting within the communities.

Read the full article here.