FAMILY IN FOCUS

Teen pregnancy on the decline in the Valley

May 23, 2014, 12:00 AM | Updated: Apr 16, 2015, 2:03 pm

Popular shows like “Teen Mom” and “16 and Pregnant” have been said to glamorize teen pregnancy but they may be helping more than harming.

Ashley Butler, community outreach director for Teen Outreach Pregnancy Services, said Valley teen pregnancy rates are on the decline. She believes shows like “Teen Mom” accurately depict the struggles of teen motherhood, fully demonstrating how difficult it is to raise a child.

Another reason for the decline is that birth control is no longer as taboo as it once was.

“The conversation about birth control options and being smart about sex, that conversation is happening more often,” said Butler.

Teen Outreach Pregnancy Services, or TOPS, was designed to create a “nonjudgmental and supportive environment for these teens,” said Butler.

“Shaming these teen parents does not help the situation,” she said.

TOPS not only provides support for teen mothers but teen fathers too. Butler said one of her greatest success stories came from a teen father who went through a “dad boot camp” with soon-to-be dads of all ages at a local hospital.

“It was very inspiring to him to see that this 40-year-old man who was about to be a new dad had the same concerns and issues as he did,” said Butler.

Butler also said TOPS accepts donations of new or gently-used baby items at their locations around the Valley.

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Teen pregnancy on the decline in the Valley