Teen pregnancy rates in Oklahoma are third highest in the nation. To put this in perspective, more Oklahoma teens have become pregnant in recent years than have entered the freshman classes of OU and OSU combined. Without a doubt, it is at a crisis level for our state. Teen pregnancy is connected to multiple social issues, including education, child well-being and poverty. It costs Oklahoma over $190 million every year.
In November 2013, the Tulsa Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, a collaborative agency of the Tulsa Area United Way, launched. Its mission is to implement strategies and solutions to reduce teen pregnancy. By 2020, the agency aims to reduce teen birth rates in Tulsa by 30%.
Why is this goal so important? Children from unplanned pregnancies are more likely to experience adverse health and developmental consequences. And, teen mothers are more likely to deliver early and have babies with a low birth weight. It’s not surprising that children of teen parents suffer higher rates of abuse and neglect than children of mothers who delay childbearing. Preventing teen pregnancy reduces poverty and improves overall child and family well-being.
The Tulsa Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy is the only organization in Tulsa using a coordinated approach to address teen pregnancy prevention on a systems level. The non-profit provides teen pregnancy prevention training and resources for physicians, business leaders, faith leaders, non-profit administrators and school professionals. It works closely with partner agencies like Tulsa Public Schools and the Tulsa Health Department to address the issue where it matters most – in the lives of teenagers.
To learn more about the organization and how you can help, visit tulsacampaign.org.