Universities would be required to make an action plan to prevent unplanned teen pregnancies, under a proposal approved by the Senate Education Committee. New Orleans Senator Wesley Bishop spent decades working in higher education. He says he’s talked with many young women who dropped out of school for so-called medical reasons.
“When I talked to them and say what is the medical reason and is there something that the university can do to stop you, they’ll say, ‘Mr. Bishop, I’m pregnant,’ and it happens a lot,” Bishop said.
The measure would require all universities, community colleges, and trade schools to have a plan to help students prevent unplanned pregnancies to keep students in school. Bishop says only 40 percent of teen mothers finish high school, and just two percent complete college by age 30.
“What’s interesting though in those 25 years, I have never had a young man to ever come into my office and say, ‘Mr. Bishop, I have to withdraw from school because my girlfriend is pregnant,” Bishop said.
Bishop says that’s because often times the responsibility of raising that child falls on the mother. He says pregnancy prevention is something that should be taught along with time management and study habits. He is confident if young people knew better, they would do better.
“It doesn’t matter if you have an A in your chemistry class if you can’t show up because you happen to be pregnant. You have to drop out of school. It gets to be very difficult,” Bishop said.
The proposal now heads to the full Senate.