81
      Sunday
      84 / 71
      Monday
      84 / 73
      Tuesday
      86 / 74

      SC teen birth rates down 13 percent

      Teen birth rates hit an all time low in South Carolina. According to the Department of Health and Environmental Control birth rates declined 13 percent from 2009 to 2010.

      The decline in teen pregnancy is welcomed by Angel Onley-Livingston. She serves as the Community Specialist for the SC Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy in Horry County. At age 21,she gave birth to her now 9-year-old son.

      "I still was very mentally young. And though I thought I was old enough and physically ready, emotionally and mentally I was not ready to do that," says Onley-Livingston. "The only reason I believe I am able to stand here today is because of my mother, my father and other community members who continuously pushed me as they did."

      She says whenever her son has questions about sex, she's ready to answer them.

      "Very basically this is your anatomy and this is what you were designed to do so when you begin to have those questions, those thoughts and those feelings let's look at some of the literature that we have. We have Carolina Teen Health where he can go on their and pick out different things and we also have things like the Parent Portal where if I don't know the answers I can go and find out what the answer is," says Onley-Livingston

      Over the past decade South Carolina has seen a 26 percent decline in the teen birth rate. Experts say more teens today are choosing abstinence, using contraception more frequently, and teen pregnancy is now seen as a critical issue.

      Onley-Lvingston adds parental involvement also makes a difference.

      "A lot of our youth in this area data showing that they want their parents to talk to them. A lot of parents believe they're talking to their youth but the question is what are they actually saying to them. Some people believe just saying yeah we've had the talk but then our youth are like I still walk away not knowing what I'm supposed to do," she says.

      While the drop in numbers is worth noting, Onley-Livingston doesn't want to lose the momentum so fewer teen girls find themselves pregnant.