Roughly one in four teen girls become pregnant at least once by age 20 and fully half of all pregnancies in the United States are reported by women themselves as unplanned. Not too good.

By posting some intemperate thoughts about sex, love, relationships, pregnancy, childbearing, the media, public policy, our dogs, and other topics, we hope to spark a two-way discussion about how best to bring down the high rates of teen and unplanned pregnancy in this country. And who knows…from time to time, we might even offer up a few cogent thoughts that will be helpful.

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20-Somethings, Colleges, Contraception, Education, Federal Funding, Public Policy, State and Local, Teen Pregnancy, Unplanned Pregnancy
February 02, 2016

Arkansas and Mississippi are taking bold steps to help college students avoid unplanned pregnancy.  In an excellent article published on Pew’s Stateline, reporter Sophie Quinton travels to Jackson, Mississippi to see how the state’s innovative legislation is being implemented, and shares perspectives from leaders in Arkansas and Mississippi about why they are tackling this topic and how it supports college completion goals.  

Read an excerpt from the article below...

At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, the 11 students in Carol Jussely’s “Essential College Skills” class were talking about sex.

Crammed into school chairs and clustered in groups of three or four, they leaned together to confer and then shouted out answers to trivia questions like, “Fact or fiction: You can’t get pregnant from having sex in a hot tub.”

Mississippi has among the highest teen-pregnancy rates in the country, and the teens most likely to get pregnant are college-age. So in 2014, the state passed a law that requires public colleges like Hinds Community College here to teach students how to avoid unplanned pregnancies. Arkansas passed a similar law last year.

Lawmakers in both conservative, Bible Belt states have fought for years over whether and how high schools should teach students about sex. Yet the new laws, which affect legal adults, were surprisingly uncontroversial.

And amid a national push to increase the share of Americans who have a postsecondary certificate or degree, other states and college systems are paying attention. Seven percent of community college dropouts leave because of an unplanned pregnancy, according to the American Association of Community Colleges. 

Like most community colleges, Hinds doesn’t collect data on why students stop showing up for class, and it’s not clear if unplanned pregnancies are widespread or a major risk factor for dropping out.

Keep reading on Pew Charitable Trust

Authored by: Andrea Kane

Andrea Kane is the Senior Director of Public Policy at The National Campaign. She is responsible for The National Campaign’s public policy program, as well as its growing initiative with community colleges. During her time at the Campaign, she has also had responsibility for partnerships with a wide range of national, state and local organizations and helped launch The National Campaign’s work with youth in foster care and with Latino communities.

From 2001 through 2008, she was also affiliated with the Brookings Institution’s Center on Children and Families in various capacities. Before joining The National Campaign in 2001, Andrea served at the White House Domestic Policy Council as a special assistant to President Clinton. She has also worked at the National Governors’ Association, and at the state and local level in California, Texas, and Virginia.

She studied Government at Smith College, received a BA from Cornell University and an MPA from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas.

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Contraception, Public Policy, State and Local, Unplanned Pregnancy
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Authored by: Paige Whipple

Paige is the Coordinator of Entertainment Media at The National Campaign. She works with media partners in television and publishing to help them incorporate teen and unplanned pregnancy prevention messages into their work.

She came to The Campaign after graduating Magna Cum Laude from Towson University with a Bachelor’s in Mass Communication and Journalism. Paige worked at Baltimore Style Magazine for two years, wrote a bi-weekly column for Towson’s newspaper, and was a contributor for an online magazine, The DC Ladies. She also runs social media accounts for several Baltimore-based businesses as a freelancer.

She shares her alma matter with Amy Schumer and Mike Rowe—not bad company to be in. 

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20-Somethings, Contraception, Media, Popular Culture
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Authored by: Ronesha Dennis

Ronesha D. Dennis is the Partnerships Manager at The National Campaign.  She is responsible for fostering relationships with sororities, fraternities, faith groups, and other organizations to encourage their members to become educated about the importance of unplanned pregnancy prevention.  Ronesha joined the Campaign in May 2011 as the Office and Fulfillment Coordinator.

A native of New Orleans, LA, Ronesha currently resides in Temple Hills, MD, where she spends her weekends planning sorority service events, studying marketing trends, and practicing French.  Ronesha earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communications with a concentration in Print and Online Journalism and a minor in Computer Science from Howard University in 2011.  Her greatest accomplishment was redesigning the website for the university’s then-daily newspaper, The Hilltop, and the Howard University News Service.  

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20-Somethings, Bedsider, Contraception, Unplanned Pregnancy