Young women in the South are subject to the policies of conservative legislatures which restrict the quality and duration of their reproductive health education. Further, with regressive abortion legislation limiting clinic’s ability to provide quality healthcare to young women, teens are faced with few options to confidentially seek healthcare for themselves.This research seeks simple and low-cost ways that Durham, North Carolina can continue to support young women’s reproductive health despite the political barriers posed by the state legislature.
The teen pregnancy rate rose 6% between 2017 and 2018, marking a clear failure on the part of the state to provide enough reproductive health resources and services for its population.This research shows that this matters not just for the sake of young women’s health, but states with higher rates often pregnancy suffer from higher rates of poverty. Durham needs to invest in its young women not just for their health but also their economic futures.
Durham County Public Health Officials should actively engage teens to take part in youth-focused programs. There should also be accessible active links to nonprofit internet resources for students and teens should they need additional information.
Given North Carolina’s restrictive curriculum standards, the City of Durham should continue or expand funding for programs like FOCUS and ShiftNC which continue reproductive health education and provide services to young women beyond 9th grade.