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Record low local teen pregnancy rates

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Fewer teen girls are becoming pregnant in Amarillo.

The Teen Pregnancy Prevention Coalition says they're seeing the lowest rates since they began keeping track over ten years ago. They held a meeting today with area social workers, nurses, and students to announce their latest findings.

Chair Myrna Raffkind says, "Teens are beginning to realize that sex has consequences. It's not all fun and games. Parents are beginning to realize that they do have an influence on their teens, to talk to their teens." She says shows like 16 and Pregnant, Teen Moms, and The Pregnancy Pact are helping by showing realistic portrayals of what it really means to have a baby.

But she says there are still teens becoming pregnant. According to their latest findings in 2010, there were more than 100 pregnant teen girls in Potter and about 40 in Randall.

They're working together with local organizations like Impact Futures to change that. Project Director LaVisa Matthews says, "We know that substance abuse is almost always a factor in teen pregnancy. So I think it's really important for us to stay heavily involved in doing educational presentations to make sure that parents know."

At the same time, area students are doing projects to inform teens about the effects of abortion. Bushland Student Sydnie Gregory says, "I think that they need to know that abortion is not always the answer, and that there are other resources if they do get pregnant. And they don't need to just go to abortion. They're scared of what may happen to them."

The coalition says it's the teens who are least able to take care of a baby who become pregnant. And it's related to poverty and education level.

Foster teens have highest teen pregnancy and repeated pregnancy rates. Raffkind says, "We try very hard to keep the teens in school when they do have children. Because if they drop out, then they'll have a big chance at becoming pregnant again."

Jessica Abuchaibe, NewsChannel 10.

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