1. Health
Dawn Stacey M.Ed, LMHC

The Secret Life of the American Teenager - A Cautionary Tale About Teen Pregnancy?

By July 1, 2008

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Debuting at 8 EST tonight on ABC, The Secret Life of the American Teenager is a one hour drama that tries to focus on the relationships between families and friends, and how they deal with an unexpected teen pregnancy. Produced by Brenda Hampton, the creator of 7th Heaven, The Secret Life of the American Teenager is intended for the target audience of teens and their families who are trying to cope in a culture where 20% of 15-year-old girls and 25% of 15-year-old boys are sexually active. Critics say that this show is basically a love story and cautionary tale about teen pregnancy; however, it apparently seems forced, is filled with stereotypes of today's teens, and that the teens in this series seem too consumed by sex.

American Teenager is about what happens after vulnerable 15-year-old "good girl" Amy comes home from camp pregnant from her first and only sexual experience. Additionally, we find out that Ricky, one of the high school's biggest sexual predators (who gets Amy pregnant) sleeps with a ton of girls due to a self-esteem problem. Finally, we are introduced to Jack, the star of the football team and a Christian, who has taken a vow of abstinence and his cheerleader girlfriend, Grace who wears a promise ring to symbolize her vow to her parents to delay sex until marriage.

This ABC Family drama was created in collaboration with the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy the group notes that nearly 47% of all high school students have had sex. Also, the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy points out that approximately 1 million teenagers in the US will become pregnant during the next 12 months, and 95% of those pregnancies will be unintended. About one-third of them will end in miscarriage, one-third ending in abortion, and one-third of the teenagers will continue their pregnancy and keep the baby.

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