The New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH) reminds parents that talking about sexual health is one of the most important conversations they can have with their children in the ongoing effort to reduce unplanned teen births in the state.
With teen birth rates sharply declining in New Mexico, Governor Susana Martinez proclaimed May as Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month and encourages residents to recognize the important role they’ve played and will continue to play in further reducing a teen birth rate that is now at its lowest point in decades.
New Mexico’s teen birth rate for ages 15-19 declined 63 percent since the peak year (1991) and 14 percent since 2015.
New Mexico is currently ranked seventh nationally, an improvement from four from the previous year, with a decline of 14 percent from 2015 to 2016, the second greatest decline in the nation.
“New Mexico is nationally recognized for policies related to reproductive health and rights,” said Department of Health Cabinet Secretary Lynn Gallagher. “It’s important for the future of the youth in our state that parents take the lead in educating their children on this subject. One important way for New Mexico to sustain the reduction in unplanned teen births is being able to talk openly about the sexual health of its teen population.”
NMDOH’s Family Planning Program provides access to confidential, low- or no-cost family planning services through public health offices, and community clinics and has worked with the clinics to maintain access to birth control for teens.
Additionally, NMDOH’s educational programs for youth include service-learning, positive youth development, and comprehensive sex education programs. Adult-teen communication programs give adults information and skills to communicate effectively with young people about sensitive subjects, including sexual health. The Family Planning Program also offers BrdsNBz, a text-messaging system for teens with free, confidential answers to sexual health questions in English or Spanish.
For more information on teen birth rates and on family planning programs for adults and teens, visit the NMDOH Family Planning section of the NMDOH website at https://nmhealth.org/about/phd/fhb/fpp/.
Additionally, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Teen Pregnancy web page at https://www.cdc.gov/teenpregnancy/index.htm to learn more about teen pregnancy prevention initiatives, tools and resources for parents and teens.