Teenage Pregnancy vis--vis Jeff Smith

To begin thinking about the issue of teenage pregnancy, let's go through Jeff Smith's list of underlying issues.  Your name will appear at the end of one of the issues below, and your responsibility is to be ready to discuss your issue in class.  However, you need to think about all of the issues in order to know what you really think.

1.  Human Nature and Responsibility

Who is responsible for teen pregnancy?  The girls?  The boys?  The men?  Equally responsible?  How responsible are the parents of the teens?  Our society (think of the images of sex and parenthood in the media)?  Our are schools partly to blame?  For whom is this a crime?  (Emily, Michael, Holly, Jamison)

2.  Community

For who's community is this a problem?  Is it a district problem, a city problem, a state problem or a national problem?  How does pregnancy rates in one place affect people in another place?  According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute, Arkansas had the second highest teenage birthrate in the nation for 1996.  Should people in North Dakota--the lowest teen birth rate--be concerned?  Should their tax dollars go to helping our teens and their children?  Should ours help teens in Mississippi--the state with the highest teen birthrate in 1996? (Erin, Marco, Meisha)

3.  Justice

Should someone be held criminally responsible for teen pregnancy?  Who?  The girls?  The boys?  The men?  Their parents?  The children of teen parents?  If so, to what degree?  Community service?  Jail time?  Who's going to watch the children while the parents are serving their sentence? (Amber, Brad, Andrea, Brandon)

4.  Wealth

What distribution of wealth would be fair in a teen pregnancy situation?  Should the state or national government help pay for the care and maintenance of the children?  Should fathers be forced to pay for their children?  What if the parents have no jobs, no skills, no education?  Who pays for child care while they try to/are forced to get an education or job training?  (Bridget, Heath, Randall)

5.  Government

What role does government play in teen pregnancy?  Should government do something about it or let nature take its course, so-to-speak?  If it should do something, what?  If not, then does government have to deal with the results of teen pregnancy, i.e. poverty, high school drop-outs, child care issues, etc.? (Sam, Bryan, Molly)

6.  America

Where do we stand now as a nation on the issue of teen pregnancy?  What has been the response so far?  Is it working?  Does America, arguably the most powerful nation on earth but with the highest teen birth rate in the industrialized world, create the conditions encouraging teen pregnancy through its policies, institutions and actions/inactions?  (Kenyell, Phillip, Tasha)

7.  History

IS teen pregnancy something we should just accept because it has always been around?  The price of doing business in our country?  Is our energy well spent in trying to do something about it or is it futile to fight human nature?  Should we be making policies concerning teen pregnancy?  (Trey, Sara, Robert)