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Latina Girls' Magazine Talks Back to Palin

La Prensa-San Diego, News Report, Staff Posted: Oct 20, 2008

Latinitas, the first digital magazine made for and by Hispanic girls, knows firsthand the effects of abstinence only sex-education: Latinas have the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the United States.

According the U.S. Census bureau, 53 percent of Hispanic teens get pregnant at least once before age 20, which is nearly twice the national average. Research also shows that 69 percent of those teenage moms end of up dropping out of high school.

This trend has plagued the Hispanic community for generations and the rates show no signs of going down.

Girls who contribute to Latinitas magazines are concerned about Vice Presidential-candidate Sarah Palins abstinence-only in sexual education voting stance, despite her own 17-year-old daughters pregnancy.

The abstinence policy that Palin supports didnt work in her own home, yet she expects people to believe that it will work for others, who have even more limited access to reproductive health services, said Latinitas editor Laura Donnelly.

Latinitas is responding to Palins broadcast comments stating, Explicit sex-education programs will not find my support, quoted from the Eagle Forum, a conservative pro-life web forum.

They need to teach us about [sex ed] because if we dont know about it, how can we prevent it (pregnancy), said Magna Ramos, a junior reporter for the magazine who participates in Latinitas after school programs in Austin.

According to the U.S. Census bureau Hispanics are the fastest growing minority group in the United States, so what goes on in this community strongly impacts the nation. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that children born to teen mothers are less likely to succeed in school. Texas boasts the highest rates of teen pregnancy in the country and coincidentally employs abstinence-only sex education in schools statewide. Additional statistics show that children of teen mothers are more apt to a life of poverty.

Maybe Palin needs to meet the 6th and 7th graders in the schools we work in who are going to be mothers this year in order to understand the urgency of thorough and inclusive sex education in the United States. So strongly libertarian in other ways, why wouldnt she want to give young Latinas all the information they need so that they can make their own prepared decisions about sex? said Donnelly.

An abstinence-only policy ignores the problem in the Latino community, and as a law maker you should want to do more to protect these young girls instead of alienating them.

Latinitas Magazine (www.latinitasmagazine.org) is a non-profit publication with outreach programs dedicated to the advancement and empowerment of Latina youth through media and technology. Its vision is that all young Latinas are strong and confident in their own image.

Related Articles:

I Should Have Chosen Abstinence

Having a Baby Saved My Life

Teen Pregnancy Higher Among Minnesotas Latinas

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