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    068543

    Policymakers - stand up and be counted]

    Mann JT

    TEC NETWORKS. 1991 Sep; (30):1, 8-9.

    The author expresses concern over the lack of legislative interest in and support for reducing and rate and incidence of pregnancy and childbearing in the adolescent and teenage population. While experts and professionals have some of the answers needed to reduce these rates, often misinformed, ill-advised, and ignorant policymakers provide neither cooperation nor support for effective changes. Policymakers who have pledged to address the needs and social conditions of this age group, yet have failed to deliver once elected, should be removed from office. Those few who do support the interests of youths need help in the form of citizen advocacy and leadership. The reader is called upon to remain informed and abreast of local, state, and federal legislation regarding the needs of at-risk, pregnant, and parenting adolescents. Policymakers must, in turn, be educated about social factors directly contributing to the continued prevalence and incidence of teen pregnancy and childbearing. Systemic change, institutions, laws, and policies are required to better meet the needs of youths. Reasons for the decreased incidence of teen childbearing over the period 1970-88 include a decrease in the size of the adolescent population since 1988, increased use of contraception, and more abortions. In closing the Title X family planning program recently approved by the House Energy and Commerce Committee is discussed. In view of Title X's crucial and unique role in providing services to low-income women and adolescents, the reader is urged to rally in support of its reauthorization.
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