NC20 December: 8 Things You Can Do (Right Now) To Empower Teens and Young Women
December 01, 2016
This December, in the final month of our 20th anniversary celebration, we’re taking stock of progress made and recommitting to the work ahead. We know that while we’ve made historic strides in reducing teen and unplanned pregnancy, we can’t mistake progress for victory—not when one in four teens still get pregnant by the age of 20, and not when progress remains uneven across our communities.
All young people should have the power to decide if, when, and under what circumstances to get pregnant. Here are eight things you can do right now to ensure progress continues in 2017.
- Have a talk. Not the talk, necessarily—but let a young person in your life know you’re there for him or her. Teens consistently say that parents most influence their decisions about relationships and sex. And whether it’s a parent, a neighbor, a mentor, a teacher, or a coach, every young person should have at least one well-informed, trusted adult with whom they can discuss sex, relationships, and their futures. You can be that person.
- Say thanks to birth control. Our official #thxbirthcontrol day fell on November 16 this year, but we believe in giving thanks year round for all that birth control makes possible. Talking is power: More than half of sexually active, college-age women say they would be more comfortable using contraception if more people talked about it in a positive way. Don’t feel like talking? You’ll look great in a #thxbirthcontrol t-shirt.
- Commit to staying connected. You can be an informed advocate by signing up to receive our EGRAM or by following our blog, Pregnant Pause. Our Facebook and Twitter feeds are also great ways to keep up with news about our work and the work of our partners.
- Use your voice. It’s easier than you might think to support polices that give women and teens the power to decide their futures. Contact your members of Congress to let them know about the important programs that support unplanned pregnancy prevention for people of all ages in your community. Check out our What You Can Do policy alert to get started. In addition, educate your state, local, and federal officials about the importance of and widespread support for birth control. You can use key points and polling from our brief: Everyone Loves Birth Control. And remember to get yourself (or your family and friends) affordable health care coverage at healthcare.gov (open enrollment runs now through January 31, for coverage in 2017).
- Watch, read, talk. Three out of four young people say they have learned something useful about sex, love, or relationships from popular media. Find out which TV shows, movies, magazines, and websites the young people in your life are following, and use them as a starting point for meaningful conversations about sex, relationships, pregnancy, or contraception. Share your support on social media when shows and articles bring good information to light. Don’t know where to start? Here’s a snapshot of how our media partners have helped reduce teen pregnancy over the past 20 years.
- Be a man (or find one and show him this). Teen and unplanned pregnancy affects not just girls and women, and prevention is not just a woman’s job. Women need strong male allies to share responsibility for reproductive decisions, discuss birth control methods and options, and advocate for access to the full range of contraceptive methods. Guys can start by watching this popular guide to birth control, made just for them.
- Reach out locally. Look for organizations in your community where you can volunteer your time. If you aren’t sure where to start, our health center finder can help identify organizations and providers in your area, many of which rely on local support.
- Donate to The National Campaign. Your gift is an investment in the lives of women, men, teens, children, and families—sparking progress that can be felt across entire communities. New York Times columnist Nick Kristof included The National Campaign in his annual holiday gift giving list and we couldn’t be more pleased. He said that we are one of the most effective counterforces to those who would create barriers for women to all methods of contraception. And please know your donation is in good hands: we’ve been awarded Charity Navigator’s four star rating nine years in a row. Learn more about how your gift makes a difference and then donate today!