Nearly 3 in 10 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.

Latest Post

Media, Popular Culture, Teen Pregnancy, Teens
April 15, 2014

16 and Pregnant MaddyDid you see 16 and Pregnant last night? The first new episode in nearly two years introduced us to Maddy, a teenager from Illinois who met a guy online as a rebound after a breakup, had a one night stand with him, and got pregnant. They say they tried to use a condom but it was confusing and uncomfortable so they went without. And in an instant her life went from that of a popular high school athlete in a family with three other kids, to that of a young mom scared and practically on her own. 

Because Maddy’s own mother recently had a baby too, and because their house was crowded already, her mom decided Maddy need to take her daughter and live elsewhere. At first she thought she’d move in with the family of her baby’s fathereven though she barely knew him or his parents. Then she decided to go to her dad’s house instead, even though he lives in a different state, far away from Maddy's  friends, school, and her previous life. 

We saw Maddy struggle with needing support but not being able to get it at home or from her baby’s father. We heard her talk about how she wanted a stable, intact family for her daughter but she couldn’t pretend to feel a connection with someone just because they had a child together. We saw her handling round-the-clock feedings and diaper changes on her own. We saw her decide to leave high school and the possibility of a sports scholarship to finish her studies online instead. We watched her trying to figure out how to be a mother at the same time her own mother was saying her life was ruined and forcing her to leave home.  We saw that teen pregnancy is anything but glamorous.

This is why researchers have found that watching 16 and Pregnant and its sister show Teen Mom led to an accelerated decline in the teen birth rate. In fact, three out of four teenagers say that these shows help them better understand the challenges of pregnancy and parenthood and 40% of teens who discussed the shows in an after-school program then went home to talk about them with their parents. There's no doubt that Monday nights at 10p are a must-see TV for teenagers and parents alike, so make sure to tune in for the rest of the season. And don't forget—we have discussion guides for every episode (posted the day after the show airs) to help guide you through talking to the young people in your life. There's no excuse not to get a conversation started!

Authored by: Amy Kramer

Amy Kramer is the Senior Director of Entertainment Media at The National Campaign. She came to the Campaign in 2007 after more than fifteen years as a television news producer and communications consultant.

Amy’s role at the Campaign is to advance the organization’s mission by working with entertainment media executives, writers, producers, and others to help them incorporate teen and unplanned pregnancy prevention messages into the content of their work. She consults and advises on many television programs and websites, writes episode discussion guides for parents and teens in order to help them watch TV together and talk about it afterward, produces Campaign PSAs and other videos for educational and promotional purposes, and works with outside experts on the media goals of the Campaign.

Prior to joining the Campaign, Amy was a producer at ABC, CNN, and CNBC. She began her career at the political Hotline, a daily news wire service covering state and national politics, and then started in television as a political researcher for CBS News. As a communications consultant she worked with corporations and foundations on issues such as drug abuse, education, health care, aging, and employee/employer relations. She has moderated focus groups, written surveys, and provided analysis and direction on public opinion related to these topics. She has also worked as a political campaign press aide and a summer camp waterski instructor. Amy graduated magna cum laude from Lehigh University with degrees in government and journalism. She lives in Maryland with her husband and dog.

Other Recent Posts

April 14, 2014
Authored by: Lauren Mann

Lauren Mann is the Entertainment Media Manager at The National Campaign.  In that capacity, Lauren is responsible for staying on top of changing trends in teen and unplanned pregnancy, watching episodes of teen and young adult oriented television and writing discussion guides and blog posts for media partners, and assisting in general with the Campaign’s television and print media partners. 

Lauren joined The National Campaign as an intern and has written original content for several sites and blogs.  Lauren has a degree in Communications and Journalism from The George Washington University and walks to and from work every day to her home at the top of a really big hill.  

Last week, 16 of our national Youth Leadership Team members descended on Washington, DC and stormed the Capitol for their right to be heard. Okay, so it was less of a “storming” and more of an organized stroll, but you get the point. With a record-breaking 38 (!!) meetings, each of our fantastic...
Federal Funding, Public Policy, Teen Pregnancy, Teens
April 09, 2014
Authored by: Lisa Shuger

Lisa Shuger is the director of public policy for The National Campaign. She is responsible for assisting in efforts to develop and execute effective policy strategies to help prevent teen and unplanned pregnancy, taking the lead on high school completion, and opportunity/mobility. She has responsibility for building partnerships with national, state, and local organizations involved in K-12 education. In addition, she works on health and human services policy to improve outcomes for women and families.

Prior to working for The National Campaign, Lisa was the Washington director for the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS). Her focus included immigration reform and international refugee protection/assistance. From 1996-2001, she served as deputy director/legislative representative to New York City Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani where she led efforts on immigration and welfare reform. She has worked for the American Psychological Association and the American Orthopsychiatric Association.

She studied K-12 education and Russian and East European studies, and received her BA in education from the George Washington University.

Image Credit: DC Campaign to Prevent Teen PregnancyShortly after U.S. Department of Education Secretary Arne Duncan announced in January of this year that the U.S. high school graduation rate had reached 80 percent (for the school year 2010-2011)—the highest in American history—a piece appeared in...
Education, Public Policy, State and Local, Teen Pregnancy, Teens
CDC Infographic
April 08, 2014
Authored by: Jessica Sheets Pika

Jessica Sheets Pika is the Assistant Director of Communications at The National Campaign. In that capacity, Jessica is the community manager and content strategist for The National Campaign’s award winning websites, (the Campaign’s corporate website) and (the Campaign’s teen website). She curates and writes content, manages consultants and content contributors, handles both sites’ social media presences, and develops new activities and content areas for both sites. In addition, Jessica handles press initiatives, spearheads the design and creation of new National Campaign materials, and provides general communications guidance to all program areas of the Campaign.

Jessica joined The National Campaign in 2006 with 4+ years of experience in the non-profit healthcare world. She received a Bachelors degree in Communications and Political Science from Wake Forest University and lives in Northern Virginia with her husband, her adorable son, and their dog, Cora.

Earlier today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a new Vital Signs fact sheet on teen pregnancy prevention and held a conference call to report the details. Some highlights included:52% of sexually-active younger teens use a less-effective pregnancy prevention method (...
Contraception, Teen Pregnancy, Teens