All posts by nancy

Don’t Have Sex — Because You Will Get Pregnant & Die

Coach teaches a sex ed class in the movie "Mean Girls"

Last week, we talked about the high teen pregnancy and STD infection rates in the U.S. compared to other developed countries. It turns out that differing societal attitudes towards teen sexuality is the biggest factor accounting for the huge gap. European parents and other adults are much more accepting of teen sexuality and teens consider it the norm to take precautions when engaging in sexual activity.

Quite different from the “sex is bad” approach so common in this country.

Aside from changing our entire country’s cultural norms around sexuality, what can we do to reduce teen pregnancy and STD infection rates? Continue reading

Why Other Countries “Do It” Better


“In any given society, at any given moment in history, people become sexual the same way they become anything else. Without much reflection, they pick up directions from their social environment.”

~ John H. Gagnon, Distinguished Professor, Emeritus, Stony Brook University

Well said!

Professor Gagnon’s statement speaks to one of my biggest questions:

Why does the U.S. have one of the highest teen pregnancy rates of any developed country? Continue reading

What About the Boys?

Continuing our focus on National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, this week’s post is written by one of FPA’s Pregnancy Prevention Coordinators.

I’ll never forget it. Standing in front of a hundred or so eighth-grade boys, I asked them where they got their information about sex and staying healthy.  After an uncomfortable silence, one brave soul shrugged and said “Mostly…from the streets.”

The ‘streets’ he was referring to are lined with oak trees and sidewalks.  But, I knew what he meant. I had been asked to speak to that group of boys because the principal discovered an underground condom ring going on within the school.  Yep, that’s right.  Some entrepreneurial boy realized he could make good money selling condoms to his classmates.  The same condoms, mind you, that can be legally obtained in about ten different stores in their town.  This makes you wonder…

When I asked them if they had these conversations with an adult at home, they slowly shook their heads.  A few gave me a patronizing smile with that “You’re outta your mind, lady.” look.  I have posed this question to students before, so I wasn’t surprised by their reaction.  But, something about that particular instance has always stuck with me.  Continue reading

What are You Doing for the ‘Jessie’ in Your Life?

May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month.

Here at the FPA, every day is devoted to the prevention of teen and unplanned pregnancy. Our clinical staff, prevention staff, legislative advocacy staff, and the administrative staff that keep the business side of things going are all committed to helping women and men plan their families and avoid unwanted pregnancy.

But what about all the folks who aren’t doing teen pregnancy prevention work as part of their day job — is there anything the average person can do?

By way of answering that question, I’d like to tell you about Jessie.

Continue reading

Knocked Up — Twenty-Somethings & Unplanned Pregnancy

Katherine Heigl and Leslie Mann in a scene from the movie "Knocked Up"

Here’s a quiz for you.*

Since the 1990s the rate of teen pregnancy in the United States has:
A. declined by about a third.
B. stayed about the same.
C. increased by a third.

The group of unmarried women in the U.S. most likely to have used an effective method of birth control the last time they had sex is:
A. teenagers.
B. women in their twenties.
C. women in their thirties.

The group with the highest number of unplanned pregnancies in the United States is:
A. women in their twenties.
B. teenagers.
C. women in their thirties.

*From: “What You Don’t Know About Unplanned Pregnancy”  The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation Continue reading

GYT — It’s National STD Awareness Month

April is National STD Awareness Month, an annual observance to call attention to the impact of sexually transmitted diseases and to promote STD testing across the United States.

You may not think you’re affected by STDs but we all are in some way or other.

Every year, STDs cost the U.S. health care system $17 billion — and they cost affected individuals even more in immediate and long-term health consequences. Continue reading

A Healthier America — 8 Things You Can Do

April 2-8, 2012 is National Public Health Week.

Since 1995, the first week of April has been designated as a time to focus on critical public health issues with the goal of helping people live longer, happier, healthier lives.

The main themes for the National Public Health Week 2012 are:

  • Active Living and Healthy Eating
  • Alcohol, Tobacco and other Drugs
  • Communicable Diseases
  • Reproductive and Sexual Health
  • Mental & Emotional Well-Being

It’s so good to see a national public health campaign discuss reproductive and sexual health as critical services in such a no-nonsense manner!

Why is the issue of reproductive and sexual health an important public health issue? Continue reading

I Will Always Stand Up For Women

Note: This is the last week we will give away a 4000 Years for Choice poster. Comment on any post to be entered in the final drawing. Congratulations to the winners and thanks to everyone who shared a comment. We hope our readers will continue to share their reactions to our blog posts.

On Sunday, April 1st, the 40 Days of protests will come to a close.

To coincide with this year’s protests, the FPA held its 4th Annual Pledge-a-Picketer Campaign. We invited people to make a pledge to FPA based on the number of picketers at our gates each day.

Earlier this week, curious as to why people choose to support the campaign, we asked them to complete this sentence — “I gave to FPA’s Pledge-a-Picketer Campaign this year because…”

Here are some of the wonderful responses we received.

Continue reading