Teen Pregnancy in South Georgia Higher Than Rest of State

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-- Valdosta, Ga. -- May 9, 2012 --

We are in the middle of National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month. This is an especially important month for Georgia. More than 44 Teenagers give birth every day in the state.

Percy Chastang is a Youth Development Coordinator for South Health District. He says "this area, Valdosta and the surrounding counties, being slightly above the state average. The state average was 31.3, which represents 31 youths ages 15 to 17 per 1000 becoming pregnant. In our region the number is near 40."

Teenage pregnancy in Georgia costs taxpayers about $465 million dollars annually. That's according to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

In the last decade the birth rate in Georgia for girls ages 15 to 19 has steadily declined throughout the state. But that doesn't mean the problem is going away.

Percy Chastang goes on to say "the one hard truth is that there has been, and there will always be, a significant portion of young people deciding to have sex before marriage. And they need to be educated and informed and protected."

Katie Jackson is a high school student at Lowndes High School. She says "my mom is like I want grand kids but not now. Wait till you're out of college. And I'm like that is definitely my plan."