I recently attending a deliberation on the rate and effect teenage pregnancies have on the United States youth called “Just Don’t Do It: A Deliberation on Teen Pregnancies”. Although I originally thought that I would be sitting in on a discussion about reproductive rights and the legislation surrounding it, I was still pleasantly surprised with how interesting the topic was. The team presented the dilemma that is currently happening nationwide, the problem of teenage girls between the ages of fifteen and nineteen becoming unexpectedly pregnant. The deliberation specifically asked why the United States could possibly be the number one developed country in the world, but also have the highest number of underage pregnancies. Through their three approaches the English class was able to convey the dilemma many young women are having today and seek to answer this question through the possible solutions that are being done to resolve it.
The group decided to begin the deliberation by asking the room the question who has known someone such as a friend or classmate that became unexpectedly pregnant. As expected, nearly every hand went up. By asking the question of who has known someone who became pregnant allowed the group to easily frame the problem that teenage pregnancy has in this nation and how it not only effects the young woman but also the community around her. This led the group into their first approach which focused on the current system of sex education in schools, both comprehensive sex education and abstinence only education. The two members of this approach believed that the disparity in knowledge between the two educations could be having an effect on the rate of teenage pregnancies. With differing levels of sex education between teenagers, mistakes are more likely to occur such as the spreading of STD’s and unplanned pregnancies. One of the main questions asked during the first approach was “Should there be a certain type of sex education that is taught across the United States to all schools?”
The second approach focused not on the education aspect of underage pregnancies, but rather on the aspect of resources that are currently being offered as ways to lessen teenage pregnancies. Many of the resources that were discussed revolved around birth control and medical clinics that provide various types of health and assistance services to young women who become sexually active. The two members of this approach assessed various angles involving birth control and its access to teenagers. They brought up interesting questions such as “Will offering birth control to younger girls encourage more of them to have sex at an earlier age?” The discussion is the second approach was my personal favorite because it included a lot of differing viewpoints on the issue of availability.
The third and final approach, in my opinion, was the least organized of the three. The team members seemed to have no clear direction to the approach, leaving much of the task up to the audience. This specific approach discussed the multiple programs that are being implemented across the United States in various communities. Many of these solutions aim towards opening up communication between the parents and the children about sex and its complexities. Thus, hopefully reducing the stigma and furthering people’s education on the matter. Although there was useful information and some interesting discussion within this approach, it was still, overall, lack luster. After each of the three solutions the two team members would ask the audience the same two questions: “What do you think of the solution?” and “Would the program actually work in lowering unplanned pregnancies among teenagers?” Both very valid questions to ask, however, it would have been better to add additional questions to be more engaging.
However, despite the substandard third approach, the deliberation “Just Don’t Do It: A Deliberation on Teen Pregnancies” was still extremely interesting. The three approaches provided ample amounts of information to the audience while flowing together effortlessly. Each of the topics that were discussed were thoroughly analyzed and addressed from all angles providing sufficient evidence to the problem and solution of unplanned teenage pregnancies. And due to the large turnout, the discussion for was very engaging. Many of the people that participated within the deliberation provided particularly interesting points, making the overall experience worthwhile.