The Alliance believes:
- That the inequity in Mass teen births creates ethical responsibility to engage on the issue
- That youth gaining control of sexual choices are youth gaining control of their lives
- That the strengths of communities and families can be brought to bear to address teen pregnancy
Young people can make positive decisions about their sexual health and prevent too-early childbearing if the have:
- Access to comprehensive sexual health information
- Access to condoms and contraceptives for sexually active youth
- Perception of opportunity and hope for a bright future
The Alliance believes that high teen birth rates impact the prosperity of individuals, families, and communities. The combination of the innate risks of adolescence and the added risks of an impoverished community create exponential risk for some young people. We believe that the many strengths of families, institutions, and communities can be brought to bear on supporting youth to delay sexual activity, pregnancy, and parenthood beyond adolescence, so that young people can focus on realizing their own potential before they need to focus on a child.
Too often, fear and ambivalence about adolescent sexual development means that young people do not get good guidance about sexual choices that respects their rights and capabilities. We believe that young people learning to take control of their sexual choices are young people learning to take control of their lives. Every community member can play a role in supporting youth to make healthy choices about relationships, sex, parenting, and life.
The Alliance believes that all young people deserve to explore, expand, and realize their potential. We must support teen parents and help them develop their gifts and the gifts of their children.
Too often, vilification of teen parents gets us off the hook for poor schools, unstable housing, low wages, family dysfunction and limited realms of possibility so many young people and their families confront throughout their lives. The combination of the innate risks of adolescence and the added risks of an impoverished community create exponential risk for some young people.
But poverty, hardship, and lost opportunity are not inevitable. Nothing is inevitable about teen parenting—if we enrich the environment in which young parents live, we can change the outcomes for them and for their children. A positive environment makes all the difference.
All youth need and deserve comprehensive sex education which provides accurate, age-appropriate information about human sexuality, reproduction, and sexual health. It includes information about effective use of condoms and other contraceptives, pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. Comprehensive sex education also supports young people in delaying sexual activity until they are physically cognitively and emotionally ready for a mature relationship and its possible consequences. It provides an opportunity for youth to explore and understand their own values, develop skills to communicate and relate to others in healthy, meaningful ways, and supports their ability to make decisions about sexual involvement with integrity and respect for themselves and their partners.