May is National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health (NLIRH) is calling on lawmakers to emphasize a different approach to address the sexual health of Latina youth. NLIRH has released a study, Removing Stigma: Towards a Complete Understanding of Young Latinas' Sexual Health that examines the shortcomings of current teen pregnancy prevention campaigns and explores how shame and stigma are unsuccessfully used to deter teen pregnancy.
The NLIRH research utilizes a reproductive justice framework to discuss how the narrow focus on pregnancy rates fails to address greater needs of Latina youth. Specifically, the report states that:
“…a narrow focus on teen pregnancy prevention categorically excludes the particular contexts and concerns of Latina teens’ sexual and reproductive lives that are just as important to them as pregnancy prevention and planning. Policies that give young women the skills and resources to delay pregnancy until they decide to become parents must also speak to their right to a healthy pregnancy, to have an abortion, to parent with dignity, to an education and well-paid career, and their human desires, dreams, and experiences of forming relationships and families.”
The NLIRH calls on lawmakers and teen prevention campaigns to reduce or eliminate obstacles that limit the ability of Latina youth to make informed decisions about their sexual and reproductive health. This includes a larger mission to eradicate greater health disparities among people of color.
Be sure to read this fantastic report in its entirety.