Because Rockdale County was among 33 Georgia counties with the highest number*
of teen pregnancies, in 1998 the state offered Rockdale $150,000 in funding for
a local TeenPlus center--Georgia's statewide teen pregnancy prevention program.
TeenPlus centers stress sexual abstinence, but may offer contraception, without
parental consent, if a teen requests birth control.
The state's offer to set up a TeenPlus center in Rockdale County ignited
controversy. Following emotional community meetings and thousands of letters
and petitions to elected officials, Rockdale rejected TeenPlus. Many viewed it
as government interference in an issue--curbing teen pregnancy and teen sexual
activity--which should be handled by families, churches and the community.
Others attacked it for being an approach which addresses "symptoms" only.
The chairman of Georgia's Christian Coalition, Sadie Fields, said: "As long as
we only try to minimize the damage (by offering contraceptives for sexually
active teens) you are never going to stop this kind of behavior. It is only by
addressing the key problem--the fact that the moral underpinnings have been
totally knocked out from under these kids--are we really going to solve
The theme of government and other outside interference in people's lives,
especially in family matters such as discussions with children about
sex, came up in three of the interviews FRONTLINE conducted for this report,
"The Lost Children of Rockdale County": Randy Poynter, a Rockdale
County Commissioner who was one of the leaders in the TeenPlus opposition,
Cindy, the mother of Nicole, and Frank, Amy's father.
is this story isolated? |
the syphilis outbreak
* In 1996, the year of the syphilis outbreak, Rockdale reported 145 pregnancies among 10-19 year old girls. These pregnancies resulted in 86 births, three miscarriages and 56 abortions.
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