A Reflection of Black History Month
By Jane Haines, Communications Intern, The National Campaign
With February behind us, we’re reflecting on Black History Month and all the progress that’s been made to reduce teen and unplanned pregnancy in Black communities.
In 2011, 45% of all pregnancies were unplanned. That’s a huge number, especially considering that teen pregnancy alone costs taxpayers an estimated minimum of $9.4 billion per year.
The good news is that the Black teen birth rate declined significantly in the last few decades—a whopping 49% since 2007, and 73% since 1991.
This kind of progress is certainly worth celebrating, especially since research shows that when young people can take control of their bodies and lives, all of society benefits.
However, economically disadvantaged teens of color are less likely to have access to quality health care and contraceptive services, and much more likely to live in neighborhoods where jobs and opportunities for advancement are scarce. This lack of access means there are 32 births per 1,000 Black teen girls (as compared to 16 per 1,000 for White teen girls), which is still far too high.
That’s why last month, together with Values Partnerships, we launched an innovative new toolkit designed to support Black church leaders in their efforts to reduce teen and unplanned pregnancy in their communities. The toolkit features free videos, fact sheets, and tips to help start conversations with young congregants about relationships, contraception and sex.
While it might seem strange to put religion and sex in the same conversation, the pairing actually makes a lot of sense. The Black church has historically been a place where tough community issues are addressed, and teen and unplanned pregnancy is no different. Josh DuBois, Founder and CEO of Values Partnerships, says that this project “comes at a critically important time” in the Black church. “This is a moment where [we] can rally around teen and unplanned pregnancy and make real progress on behalf of teens, women and entire families.”
We’re excited about this new opportunity to increase young peoples’ access to information and reduce the inequalities faced by the Black community, but there’s still more work to be done. So even though Black History Month is over, we’ll continue to tackle this issue all year long—that’s just how we roll. To learn more about these newly developed resources, check out our page here.