By Amy Bracken
The vast majority of U.S. adults and teens believe that teens should not be sexually active but those who are should have access to contraception, says a campaign study of American attitudes, the results of which are contained in these two reports. The reports are based on two national surveys: one of 1,002 teens 12-19 years old and one of 1,024 adults 20 years and up.
The surveys covered four topics: teen sex and pregnancy in general; factors that might influence teens' sexual decisions; the role of parents; and advice for policymakers. Among the findings, summarized in "With One Voice": 93 percent of adults and 88 percent of teens think that teen pregnancy is a serious problem; 71 percent of adults and 75 percent of teens disagree with the argument that teaching teens abstinence while providing access to information about contraception sends a "mixed message"; 22 percent of teens believe that parents not paying attention is the primary reason teens get pregnant (or get others pregnant) - far more than the percentage citing the media, inadequate access to contraception or poor morals or values; and when asked what advice they would offer leaders in Washington, 69 percent of adults and 67 percent of teens said they would urge them to encourage teens to abstain from sex and emphasize contraception use.
Among the campaign's conclusions, summarized in "Halfway There," are that too many parents do not take a strong stand against teen pregnancy, and that each side of the abstinence versus contraception debate should recognize the importance of teaching both.
"With One Voice" is 31 pages and $15; "Halfway There" is 35 pages, and $10. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, 1776 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Ste. 200, Washington, DC 20036. (202) 478-8566. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. www.teenpregnancy.org.