Texas teen pregnancy rates

Texas teen pregnancy rates

Amarillo, TX - Teen birth rates, nationwide, are the lowest they have been in almost 70 years. Though, Texas still ranks high especially in the panhandle. It is a concern NewsChannel 10 has been tracking for quite some time now.

Right now, Texas is fourth in the nation for the highest number of teens giving birth but local organizations hope they can help bring that ranking down.

"The girls, again, we see this cycle of teen pregnancy repeat itself over and over," Myrna Raffkin of Amarillo's Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition said.

"One of the things about teenagers, I think they're very near-sighted," Candy Gibbs of Carenet Pregnancy Centers said. "They feel like life begins from the 9th grade to the 12th grade which is not the case."

In 2009, Potter County teen pregnancy rates were nearly 40 percent. That is almost double the rate for Texas at the time, which was almost 25 percent.

"Teen pregnancy in this area has been and continues to be a problem," Raffkin said. "Potter County still has one of the highest rates."

Organizations like, Carenet Pregnancy Centers, say the panhandle can do better. It is trying to counter the region's high numbers through more pregnancy prevention education.

"We offer five educational programs, all with the hopes of helping people develop strong character," Gibbs said. "... which helps them fight the temptation for all different kinds of risky behavior, one of them being teen pregnancy."

The key is awareness.

"Just constant awareness, keeping it up in front, that again, we want to eliminate as much teen pregnancies that we can," Raffkin said.

And knowing your options.

"If we can get kids to think about goals for their future, where do you want to go to school, what do you want to be, what do you want to do," Gibbs said. "You can do anything with your life, why do we want to allow a high school relationship or a high school one night stand to be able to change all of that."

For more on classes offered for pregnancy prevention, click on the links provided.