Mayor Rawlings-Blake Joins Health Officials to Announce Campaign to Reduce Teen Pregnancy and Unintended Births
This morning, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake joined Commissioner of Health, Dr. Oxiris Barbot, as well as city and state health advocates to announce Know What U Want, a new multi-media campaign to curb teen pregnancy and unintended births. Know What U Want removes several barriers teens face with getting accurate information about abstinence and birth control as options to avoid pregnancy.
Baltimore’s teen birth rate is currently at a historic low. According to preliminary vital records data, the city has recorded a 30% drop in teen births in the last 3 years. Baltimore still has one of the highest teen birth rates of any major city in the United States. Approximately 1 in 6 births in Baltimore occurs to teen mothers—less than 20% of which are planned.
“The goal of the Know What U Want campaign is to encouraging teens to consider the importance of family planning when making important life choices,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said. “Our campaign will help teens accomplish their personal goals and improve our birth outcomes by keeping our teens in school and on paths to being highly productive city residents."
Babies born to teen mothers are twice as likely to suffer poor outcomes. The children of teen mothers are more likely to be born prematurely and at low birth weight, and are twice as likely to suffer abuse and neglect, compared to children of older mothers.
Additionally, parenthood is a leading cause of school dropout among teen girls—30% of teen girls cited pregnancy or parenthood as a reason for dropping out of high school.
“Know What U Want is founded upon the belief that teens and young adults are best equipped to make decisions when they have access to health information that is real, relevant, and resourceful,” said Commissioner of Health, Dr. Oxiris Barbot.
Know What U Want is made possible through financial support from The Abell Foundation, The Straus Foundation, The David and Barbara B. Hirschhorn Foundation, and the Henry and Ruth Blaustine Rosenberg Foundation. The campaign was developed with The Family League of Baltimore as part of B’more for Healthy Babies, the City’s strategic plan to improve birth outcomes. The Health Department partnered with the New Lens and the Center For Design Practice at the Maryland Institute College of Art to create Know What U Want.
For more information, including a calendar of upcoming events, visit www.KnowWhatUWant.org
, a one-stop-shop where Baltimore teens and young adults can anonymously learn about abstinence, family planning, and available clinical services from a trustworthy source.
Visit our Website @ www.baltimorecity.gov