How should states support pregnant teens?

August 17, 2018

A national poll suggests that most adults with children favor some type of state support for pregnant teens. But how strongly someone feels about that and whether the help comes with caveats may be influenced by the person’s gender.

A national poll suggests that most adults with children favor some type of state support for pregnant teens. But how strongly someone feels about that and whether the help comes with caveats may be influenced by the person’s gender.

The

are from the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital National Poll on Children’s Health. It was commissioned by the University of Michigan institution and conducted by GfK Custom Research, LLC.

For the research, a randomly selected, stratified group of 2,005 parents aged 18 and older were polled. The sample was from GfK’s web-enabled KnowledgePanel, which closely resembles the US population, and was weighted to reflect Census Bureau population figures. Administered in November 2017, the survey had a completion rate of 60% with a margin of error of ±2% to 4%.

Many of the poll respondents placed caveats on a pregnant teen’s receipt of state support. Requirements endorsed included attending prenatal visits (90%), taking parenting classes (85%), undergoing drug testing (85%), and finishing high school (78%). Seventy percent of adults felt that all four of those requirements should be met in order for a teen to receive the support.

When asked about the state providing medical care, 60% of adults said it should definitely be offered to pregnant teens and 69% said it should be offered to their babies. Women were more likely than men to believe the state should provide medical care, formula and baby supplies for pregnant teens. The authors of the survey report said that “this may reflect women’s empathy with their situation, or their recognition that in many cases, it is the teen mother – not the father – who pays the financial, emotional and social cost of having a baby.”

Regarding putting caveats around state support for pregnant teens, the researchers cautioned that “the consequence for non-compliance may have a negative impact on the health of the pregnant teen or her baby.” They urged a “thoughtful approach to implementing requirements.” 
 

For more updates from our August issue:

Teen pregnancy, depression and the Internet

Transgender teens: What about fertility preservation?

How do young women feel about IUD insertion?

Let’s talk about sex . . . or not

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