Tulsa makes strides on teen pregnancy


    "Nationally the teen pregnancy rate decreased 7%, in Oklahoma we saw an 11% decrease, and here in Tulsa county we actually saw a decrease of 19%, which is fantastic."-Amber McConnell, Tulsa Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy (Aranda/KTUL)<p>{/p}

    It's a notoriously difficult topic to discuss, just ask the Executive Director of the Tulsa Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Amber Mcconnell.

    "I love it when people ask me what I do, and then you see their faces go, 'So, how do you do that?'" she said.

    The short answer -- it takes a village. Some 20 community partners focused on education, advocacy, and health.

    The results in the teen pregnancy rate?

    "We actually saw a decrease of 19 percent, which is fantastic. Rarely are we going in the right direction faster than the rest of the nation," she said.

    Using evidence-based curricula, Tulsa County has dropped its teen pregnancy rate about three times greater than the national rate of decline.

    "Students are getting more than just the typical conversation that you think, because again, we include things like sexting, consent, goals for your future, and how maybe having a baby as a teen would change your future plans," she said.

    "You can prevent teen pregnancy," said 19-year-old Lakala Williams. She is on the organization's Youth Leadership Council.

    "The Youth Leadership Council is a group of young students who are passionate about making a difference in the community, who are also passionate about the prevention of teen pregnancy," she said.

    Making big strides on a big issue, because despite all the progress, Oklahoma still has a long way to go.

    "We are still ranked 48th out of 50 states. So Oklahoma, however, still has the third highest teen birth rate in the nation," said McConnell.

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