Letter | Aleeta Stamn: Teens need access to healthcare

The July 31 article titled “It’s time to talk to teens about sex” brought some concerns to mind.

The educational program described in the article is commendable. However, the community also needs to address the fact that medical providers where teens can access effective free or low-cost birth control and abortion services are hundreds of miles away, which is at least partially responsible for Mohave County’s high rate of teen pregnancies. 

Despite our best efforts, sex will inevitably be a reality in the lives of a certain percentage of teens, complicated by the fact that rape and incest are grossly underreported crimes. Few girls and women will choose to endlessly relive the trauma of rape in a public setting, and young incest victims are thoroughly conditioned to protect their family members. These crimes seldom come to the attention of sympathetic organizations like Planned Parenthood, which are required by law to involve the authorities.  Given that family support is often lacking in cases of incest and in a variety of other situations, teenage girls deserve access to an alternative that doesn’t consign them to the life of poverty and hardship that the article accurately points out is the fate of too many teenage mothers. 

This article focused heavily on assuring parents that their teenagers will not receive birth control from any local public agency, and that this program strives only to encourage young people to talk with their parents (some of whom are themselves abusers/enablers). However, unless the community starts dealing with the realities of teen pregnancy by providing legal alternatives when “abstinence-plus” education fails, the future prospects of too many young girls will be exceedingly bleak.