Indiana lags behind in nationwide teen pregnancy drop

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Reports show that teen pregnancy is down nationwide, but Indiana lags behind in the drop.

New research from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy (The National Campaign) shows only about one-third of girls who have a child before age 18 graduate high school.

Experts say this costs taxpayers billions.

One local teen mom, Tyisha Broner, who had a baby during the final semester of her senior year in high school said it was an uphill battle for her too.

Last June, at 17-years-old, Broner found out she was pregnant and would be raising her baby on her own.

“I just cried a lot and just prayed to ask for the strength to help me move on,” Broner said.

Her baby boy, Kendall, arrived in February with four months left in her senior year.

“One of my biggest goals was to graduate high school, and I didn’t know if I was going to be able to accomplish that,” she said.

Right now, thousands of Indiana teens and hundreds of thousands nationwide are dealing with this too.

The new report from The National Campaign shows that Indiana’s teen birth rate is down 45 percent from 1991 to 2012.

The national rate is down 57 percent for the same time.

This means the rate in Indiana is falling, but not as fast as other states.

The study also found that Indiana has more pregnant teens than 31 other states.

It found that the amount spent nationwide on teen mothers in 2010, the most recent year available, was $9.4 billion, including food stamps, TANF, WIC and housing.

“This is often times seen as an issue for daughters or girls,” said Larry Humbert with the Indiana Perinatal Network, an affiliate of The National Campaign. “It’s important that parents also speak to their sons and really talk about male responsibility.”

According to the Indiana Perinatal Network, research shows contraception is more effective now and teens have sex less frequently.

Still, Humbert said, in 2013 more than 7,300 Indiana teens became teen moms.

Further, research shows, even now nearly three in ten girls are pregnant by age 20, and their kids are more likely to become teen parents too.

Tyisha, though, may even be seen as lucky because she had support when so many others don’t, from her mom, church and school.

“They just encourage me every day, and when I tend to fall off, they help me get back on,” she said.

Broner didn’t just graduate, she got her high school degree on time.

She plans to start college this fall, majoring in criminal justice at IUPUI.

Click here for more information from The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

Click here for more information from the Indiana Perinatal Network.

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