Decline is good, yet disparities require solutions

The Boston Globe
December 27, 2014

The declining teen birth rate in Massachusetts underscores the fact that young people make healthier choices when they can get accurate information about sexual health and a wide range of affordable birth control options, including long-acting reversible contraception (Mass. teen birth rate at all-time low, Metro, Dec. 12).

The statistics also reaffirm troubling disparities in the birth rate, which means more must be done to ensure that young people in all communities have the resources to stay healthy and on a path toward educational attainment, a thriving career, and financial self-sufficiency.

Next year, these disparities should inspire the Legislature to pass comprehensive sexuality education legislation. The Healthy Youth Act would ensure that schools, if they choose to provide instruction in sexuality, select a medically accurate, age-appropriate and comprehensive curriculum.

Strong evidence suggests that comprehensive approaches to sexuality education help teens withstand pressure to have sex too soon and protect themselves from sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies when they become sexually active.

Massachusetts has made important strides in reducing its teen birth rate. Now we must give priority to proven strategies so we see progress among all teens, no matter where they live.

Marty Walz

The writer is president and CEO of the Planned Parenthood League of Massachusetts.

This letter originally appearer here.

Posted in Letters to the Editor and tagged .