Tackling a ‘Touchy Subject’ of Teen Pregnancy

A Marshall County Board of Health member is concerned about teen pregnancy rates in the West Virginia, noting she hopes the health department can educate youth about services offered there.

During a recent board meeting, member Shirley Byard said recent news of the trend has her concerned about Marshall County youth. According to 2012 data released by West Virginia Kids Count, one in eight West Virginia babies are born to a teenage mother.

”I don’t know if there is anything we can do about that,” Byard said.

Administrator Ronda Francis said the health department could advertise its family planning services, but noted it is a ”touchy subject” for many parents.

”It does seem to get parents up in arms because, according to the federal government, a young girl can come here at any age that she wants and seek family planning without her parents’ permission. It’s very upsetting to the parents in some cases. Some parents bring them here – they’d rather be safe than sorry,” Francis said.

Francis noted some parents believe by just offering the services, the health department is promoting teens having sex – but that’s just not the case, she said.

”Young people sometimes get caught up in the moment and don’t think,” Francis said of the need for education.

The health department’s family planning services include: a pap smear, pelvic and breast exam, sexually transmitted disease testing, education, blood pressure testing, weight testing, and HPV vaccine to age appropriate individuals. Contraceptive methods are available.

The clinics are held Friday mornings by appointment. For more information, call 304-845-7840.