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New York City’s teen pregnancy ad campaign draws criticism

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Some say this is the kind of aggressive campaign America needs to lower the number of teen pregnancies.

"It's just very ugly," Jasmine Albarran.

New York City's Human Resources Administration just released "The Cost of Teen Pregnancy" PSA's, which include images of worried toddlers, one little boy is even crying.

"That is offensive," said Jannet Salbivar.

Jannet and Jasmine, who are both teen moms, can't believe their eyes when we show them the posters.

"It's stereotyping," said Albarran. "I got pregnant, yea, at a young age, but I'm way off better than a lot of people who are 25, 26."

"I find it to be disappointing," said Susan McDowell, the Executive Director at Lifeworks resource center.

"The current statistic is that more than 50% of high schoolers are sexually active," McDowell said. "Fear based messaging just doesn't work in prevention, particularly with teenagers."

The girls agree.

Albarran said, "It will just go in and go out...they'll look at it because it's a baby, but they'll just kind of laugh about it."

"It just doesn't work," added McDowell. "The data shows that if we make investments in young people and we engage them in developing potential and healthy futures, that's the kind of investment that can pay off."

Every teen is different and so are the reasons why they might engage in early sexual behavior.

"That really hurts me because...I'm a teen, but I'm not in any kind of situation like that," said Albarran.

McDowell said, "23% of teen parents will get pregnant again within the first year of having their child. At Lifeworks, I think we had two repeat pregnancies of the hundreds of youth we served last year. Because our focus is on...helping teen parents stay in school, learn how to be good parents to their children and how to prepare for the workforce."

"The baby's not going to keep you from graduating. If you want to graduate and you put yourself to it, you'll end up graduating," said Salbivar.

Albarran said, "There's definitely going to be people that say, go, get a job, do this, do that, I mean, I got myself through school. I went into labor and then four days after I went into labor...I went back to school and I graduated on time."

There's a wide range of approaches, but the goal is the same, to "break the cycle."

Currently, Texas ranks fourth in the nation for teen births, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Travis County ranks about fourth or fifth for large, urban areas in teen pregnancy.

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