Texas has a troubling teen pregnancy statistic: we lead the nation in teens who give birth multiple times before their 20th birthday.

Truly, I am not judging anyone who had a teen pregnancy: I gave birth to my daughter two weeks before my 20th birthday. And while being a young mother was a tremendous challenge, I wouldn't trade my experience for anything in the entire universe.

And to be fair, Texas is not number one for teen pregnancies in general (in fact, we are #9), that spot goes to Arkansas.

Photo by freestocks on Unsplash
Photo by freestocks on Unsplash

However, a recent look at the data showed that 1 in 6 teenagers who gave birth already had a child/ children. Logically speaking, to give birth to multiple children in your teens, you have to start very young. And that's where this statistic gets troubling. At 19, my body was reasonably ready to have a baby, but I shudder to think what pregnancy would be like in a 15, 14, or even 13-year-old body.

So what's making this happen?

The Texas Tribune interviewed an educator at a school that specializes in students who already have children. She pointed to a profound lack of sex education in her students, who were neither receiving information at school nor from their parents.

Perhaps in a perfect world, all parents would have this uncomfortable but necessary conversation with their children, but that's simply not the case. Meanwhile, Texas does not have mandatory sex education in schools. And the ever-popular abstinence-only approach many school districts take has been proven a failure. Not only do they not prevent young people from having sex, they increase the number of teens who get pregnant or get STDs/ STIs.

What's the solution?


Clearly, it is time for Texas to mandate sex ed in school, and to emphasize both abstinence and contraception in that education.

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