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Madera can do better for teens

We’ve heard it before, but that doesn’t keep it from coming as a shock. The five young women who appeared before the Madera City Council Wednesday evening may not have been trying to cause any tremors, but they certainly got the attention of the council and the audience in Council Chambers.

Here is what they said: Madera County is among the worst — if not the worst — in the state when it comes to teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases among teens.

The five young women are with the Coalition for Community Justice Youth Group, and their suggested solutions to the problems include more comprehensive sex education in the schools and more understanding by parents when it comes to talking to their kids about sex.

Parents of teens quite often are afraid that if they talk to their kids about sex, the kids will take that as permission to go out and practice premarital and unprotected sex. But that isn’t the case, it turns out.

It’s a fact that teens who talk to their parents about this have lower rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, the girls told the council.

You might wonder why those addressing the council all were girls. That’s because the girls are usually the ones who pay the high price for teen pregnancy. The young men who participate in premarital sex acts often quickly disappear when they learn their sexual partners are pregnant. Or, they claim the children aren’t theirs. Or, they blame the young women for passing along the diseases, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea and early syphilis, that they, themselves, gave to the young women.

These runaway fathers try to dodge their responsibilities to their children. Often, they are helped by their parents to disappear, because their parents don’t want to have any part of grandparenthood. Thus, the young mothers are left holding the babies, and the runaway fathers continue to spread venereal disease and cause pregnancy, only to run away again.

It must be noted that some young fathers do not run away, but become husbands who accept the responsibilities of parenthood — physically, emotionally and financially.

Parents who haven’t done so should get their heads out of the sand, to help their teens understand the high risks of premarital sex, especially at a time of life when it can result in suffering not only for the teens themselves, but also for any helpless little babies which may result.

Madera can do better.

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