Teen Pregnancy, Parenting, & Education


By Megan Smith, via the Repeal Hyde Art Project

Teen Pregnancy, Parenting, and Education: A Public Resource Syllabus


This syllabus is a collection of resources intended to educate teenage mothers and their allies about their rights while navigating public school systems, about comprehensive sex education that includes their unique voices, and about the educational resources available to them. Alongside teen mothers, this syllabus may be a useful tool for educators and lawmakers who want to learn how to more effectively support young parents and foster better learning environments and social policies for these women and girls.

Course Goals:

If we prevent a teen parent from completing their education, it keeps the parent in poverty and by default the child as well. After following the modules on this syllabus, both young mothers and their allies should be able to:

  • discuss the history of teenage pregnancy in the United States and recognize how pregnancies were treated among different races and classes
  • effectively identify teens more at risk of becoming teen parents and learn how to better reach out to these individuals
  • identify what rights pregnant and parenting teens have under Title IX and know how to advocate for yourself or for teen parents
  • combat stigma around teenage parenting and foster positive environments for teen parents
  • explain effective pregnancy prevention methods in an inclusive and empowering way

Unplanned Pregnancy and Teen Mothers in the United States: A History

Reading Assignments:

  1. The Girls Who Went Away: the Hidden History of Women Who Surrendered Children for Adoption in the Decades before Roe v. Wade by Ann Fessler
  2. I Was Forced to Choose Between An Abortion or a Mental Hospital by Julie Mannix von Zemeck and Kathy Wisler-Hatfield
  3. Wake up Little Susie: Single Pregnancy and Race before Roe v. Wade by Rickie Solinger

Viewing Assignments:

A Girl Like Her (Ann Fessler, 2011)

Teen Parents: Which populations are most vulnerable to unplanned pregnancy? Where are their voices?

Reading Assignments:

  1. Black Girls And Adolescents: Facing The Challenges by Catherine Fisher Collins
    1. Chapter 9: “Avoiding Teenage Pregnancy: Too Young to Parent” by Kellie Bryant
  2. “Pregnancies more common among lesbian, gay, bisexual youths” by Andrew M. Seaman
  3. Dubious Conceptions: the Politics of Teenage Pregnancy by Kristin Luker
  4. “Does Teen Pregnancy Make You Gay? Or Is It The Other Way Around?” by Nina Packebush
  5. “Poverty Causes Teen Parenting, Not the Other Way Around” by Martha Kempner

Optional Reading:

Viewing Assignments:

Overcoming Teenage Pregnancy and Poverty | Earvean Diggs | TEDxMuskegon

Know Your Rights



Reading Assignments:

Pregnant and Parenting Student Rights Under Title IX:


Viewing Assignments:

Generation Hope (Teen Parents and College): Nicole Lynn Lewis at TEDxAshburn

Re-Inventing Teen Motherhood: Danielle Ford at TEDxFremontEastWomen

Combatting Stigma & Comprehensive, Inclusive Sex Education and Pregnancy Prevention with Dignity



 Reading Assignments:

  1. “What Teen Moms Want You to Know about ‘the Talk'” by Gloria Malone
  2. “Sexual Intercourse, Abuse and Pregnancy Among Adolescent Women: Does Sexual Orientation Make a Difference?”
  3. “Shame & Stigma: How It Makes Young Moms and Dads Feel” by Natasha Vianna
  4. Sexuality Education Policies by State: http://answer.rutgers.edu/page/state_policy/

By Megan Smith, via the Repeal Hyde Art Project

Additional Resources:


Ariel Newman
Master’s Student in Multicultural Women’s and Gender Studies
at Texas Woman’s University