'Teen Mom' star talks teen pregnancy
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WPDE) - Trying to talk to teens about the consequences of having unprotected sex has a bigger impact when coming from a peer. That's why one of the stars of the hit MTV show 'Teen Mom' stopped in Myrtle Beach Friday.
The South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy brought in Farrah Abraham as part of their "Not right now, put pregnancy on pause" campaign. While the teen birth rate in the state is at an all time low, SC still ranks 12th highest in the nation.
For the last several years fans of the show '16 and Pregnant' and 'Teen Mom' have watched Farrah adjust to life as a mother, including the difficulties and joys now 3-year-old Sophia has brought to her life. Today she uses her popularity to steer other teens in a different direction.
"It's more than just a person on tv, it's actually somebody who can help them with their lives," she explains. "I'm happy that I get to meet them face to face so they know I'm a real person."
Farrah shared her personal experiences with the group. She let them know there's no need to rush into having sex because they could end up like her.
"When you have a child you lose all your freedom. It's more about your responsibilities and the stress and the hardships that you take on because you need to now be focused on your child," she added.
She also talked about the importance of using protection if they choose to have sex and encouraged them to keep an open relationship with their parents.
'Teen Mom' has its critics but the agency Farrah is speaking on behalf of supports the show.
"It provides those teachable moments for parents to actually talk to their young people about, being a teen mom is not glamorous. You see the financial risks that are taken. People have to give up on educational dreams and on career dreams because they had a child," explains Taylor Wilson with SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
According to the agency, the teen birth rate in the state has decreased by 26% in the last decade. But Wilson says, "This is not a time to be complacent. We can celebrate our success we're seeing these decrease but understanding that 329 young people had a baby in Horry County last year and that's 329 too many."
To help lower the teen birth rate Wilson says they are increasing educational opportunities for teens, helping clinics become more teen friendly and accessible, and helping parents talk to their kids.
As for Farrah, she now lives in Nebraska with her daughter and is moving forward with plans to open a restaurant. She also has a book coming out later this month.