Our View: Teen pregnancy rate alarming
In last Wednesday’s issue of The Daily Courier, we learned that the teen pregnancy rate in Rutherford County had gone up over 21 percent in 2011 from 2010.
In 2011, there were 124 pregnancies among girls aged 15-19, with 24.2 percent of those being repeat pregnancies.
To us, this is alarming to say the least.
It becomes even more alarming the more you dive into other statistics.
There were over 280 cases of sexually transmitted diseases — chlamydia and gonorrhea — reported for all ages in the county in 2011.
But, the statistic that sheds the most light on the issue in Rutherford County is that the statewide rate of teen pregnancy dropped almost 10 percent over the same year.
It means that less than 5 percent of teenage girls had gotten pregnant in 2011.
We, along with Jimmy Hines, health director for Rutherford, Polk and McDowell counties, hope that this represents just a one-year spike in the numbers.
But, one has to find a reason why the pregnancy rate has become as high as it is in Rutherford County.
It has been no secret that the health and well-being of citizens in Rutherford County is among the lowest in the state.
And, while that is just a small part, there are still many other issues that can factor into the increase that we may never be able to grasp.
Now, there has to be a solution.
Of course, education is one avenue of that education. Educating our children on proper contraception is potential method to help decrease the numbers.
However, part of that education has also got to be abstinence.
When you live in a county that has had its fair share of economic issues, like Rutherford County, to bring a new life into the fray is not the most conducive thing to do at the present time.
But, we have to come together as a community to educate our children on what they should and should not do. It is certainly not an easy task, but it is a task that we are all responsible for, regardless of whether we have children or not.
Hines said it best when he said “we need to work together as a community to prevent teen pregnancies.”
That, perhaps, is the most important message to get across.
By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board
The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark