Spokeswoman Brigid Riley says Minnesota has decreased efforts to educate kids about the consequences of pregnancy, and this is the result.
“There's a lot less being invested in prevention activities, and in making sure that young people know about how to prevent pregnancy - both boys and girls. Also, there's been a big spike in the cost of prescription contraception.”
That, she says, makes it unaffordable for many. Riley calls this year's teen birth rate increase, while less than last year's, troubling. Relying on abstinence-only doesn't work, she adds, and advocates a balanced approach, including teaching young people the consequences of and alternatives to parenthood.
“If there's not any other path that they see for themselves, such as technical school, a good job, something in their adult lives, then becoming a parent may seem like a viable alternative to them.”
Adults must do better at talking with kids about their concerns, says Riley, and the conversations should include families, schools, neighborhoods and the faith-based community.
The report uses data from the Minnesota Dept. of Health Center for Health Statistics.