Dear Editor,

The month of May is recognized as “National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month” and is reserved as a time to emphasize the importance of community collaboration in promoting and implementing effective teen pregnancy prevention strategies. With the support of local communities, this month will permit teens and their families in Iowa to address and discuss accurate sexual health information, services available for teens, and empower all teens to make healthy decisions about sex.

In recent years, the number of teen births has decreased in both the U.S. and in Iowa. The 2012 teen birth rate in Black Hawk County was 12.3 births for every 1,000 females aged 10-19. This is a significant reduction from the 2002 teen birth rate of 24.3 births per 1,000 females. In 1995, 264 teens gave birth in Black Hawk County. The most current data from IDPH indicates that 108 teens gave birth in 2012, which is the lowest number of teen births in Black Hawk County in 30 years! Black Hawk County saved more than $3.9 million in 2012 alone due to the decline in the teen births as compared to 1995. A main objective of National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month is to offer and highlight sustained support for communities in the mission to continually decrease teen birth rates.

Here in Iowa, Together for Youth (TFY) promotes National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month and provides information and resources for teens, parents, and professionals in the Cedar Valley to collaborate in the promotion of effective teen pregnancy prevention strategies.

Communities in Iowa that collaborate to ensure the involvement and promotion of effective teen pregnancy prevention initiatives will aid in the continual decrease of teen birth rates both locally and nationally.

 Shawna Haislet, Intern

Allen Women’s Health, Waterloo