The "Iowa Initiative to Reduce Unintended Pregnancies" brought a national expert to Iowa on Monday to talk about more than just teenagers. Sarah Brown, C.E.O. of a national campaign to reduce unplanned pregnancies, says while the rate of teenage pregancies has declined, that’s not the case among people in their 20s.
"What’s going on with people 18 to 30? Why are they not better at sort of planning pregnancies, managing the start of their families?" she asks. "But it’s not just Iowa. This is a national problem. These rates are flat or getting worse, coast-to-coast." While issues like the importance of nutrition and exercise are commonly aired in public, Brown says too often the health issues of reproduction and child-bearing are ignored.
"Nationwide almost 45 percent of unplanned pregnancies are amongst Caucasian young women and about 40 percent are among women who have some college education," Brown says. "…This is a very, very common, widespread problem. About half of pregnancies are unplanned in this state and nationwide." According to Brown, Americans are still skittish about talking about pregnancy planning and pregnancy prevention.
"Ninety-eight percent of sexually-active Americans have used family planning at some point in their lives," she says. " This is a very mainstream activity, but we don’t talk about it enough." For example, Brown says too few women know the full range of options available to prevent pregnancies.
"Getting pregnant, having babies and raising families is one of the most important things any of us do and it’s also one of the most expensive," Brown says. "…The notion that half of pregnancies occur when somebody wasn’t planning to do that…strikes most people as a sort of wake-up call." Former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack is leading the Iowa Initiative to Reduce Unplanned Pregnancies.