2013 New Jersey Revised Statutes
Title 26 - HEALTH AND VITAL STATISTICS
Section 26:2-170 - Findings, declarations relative to out-of-wedlock adolescent births.
26:2-170 Findings, declarations relative to out-of-wedlock adolescent births.
1. The Legislature finds and declares that:
a. Out-of-wedlock adolescent births are a serious problem facing the State of New Jersey and the nation;
b. A large number of adolescents ages 10-19 are having children with approximately one million adolescents in the United States becoming pregnant each year;
c. Adolescent pregnancy has serious medical consequences, including the following: adolescents are less likely than older mothers to obtain prenatal care as only half of the pregnant adolescents in New Jersey receive early prenatal care; pregnant teenagers are at excess risk for anemia, cervical trauma, premature delivery, prolonged or abrupt labor and maternal mortality; and children of adolescent mothers are more likely to have low birth weight, require further hospitalization and die in infancy;
d. Out-of-wedlock adolescent pregnancy has serious social consequences, including the following: adolescent mothers are more likely to live in poverty, receive public assistance, be a high school dropout and be unemployed as nearly 75% of all single mothers under age 25 live in poverty, approximately half of all women receiving AFDC from 1976-1992 were or had been teenage mothers, only slightly more than half of adolescents who become mothers finish high school and children of adolescent mothers experience excess rates of dropping out of school, incarceration, depression, premature sexual activity and out-of-wedlock births. As of 1992, 84% of all births to mothers under the age of 20 in New Jersey were out-of-wedlock, the sixth highest rate in the country;
e. Out-of-wedlock adolescent pregnancy imposes large economic costs to federal, state and local governments;
f. There is a need for a permanent body to confront the issue of out-of-wedlock adolescent pregnancy and to review policy proposals, such as the findings and recommendations presented in the 1988 report of the New Jersey Task Force on Adolescent Pregnancy; and
g. It is therefore necessary to establish an advisory council to determine the best methods of coordination and improvement of the services of State and local governmental, private and voluntary agencies, community organizations, and schools which seek to serve adolescents at high risk of pregnancy, pregnant adolescents, adolescent parents, and their families.
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