Erie County teen birth rate drops

Decline attributed, in part, to better access to birth control
Andy Ouriel
Jul 14, 2013

Cameron’s little smile eventually surfaced, accentuating his chubby cheeks as he gently rocked back and forth.

The 2-month-old boy seemed happy in a motorized swing.
His mother, 19-year-old Corrine Engel, also appeared delighted, staring at the person she adores most.
“I talk to him and tell him that I love him, and he is my perfect little boy,” Engel said.
But the Huron resident had to make some sacrifices when Cameron came into this world.
“It’s a lot more difficult than people think,” Engel said during a recent interview. “I’m not with the father. I’m not able to see my friends. I’m not able to work. Just trying to find baby sitters so I can get things done is tough.”
Many younger mothers can sympathize with Engel’s struggles.
About 250 mothers ages 14 to 19 gave birth in Erie County from 2008 through 2012, according to a Register analysis of Erie County Health Department data obtained through a public records request.
This group accounted for 9.4 percent of all births in Erie County during this five-year period. 
The data also reveals the local teenage birthrate has decreased over time. In 2012, for instance, 7 percent of all births in the county came from teen moms, a drop from the 12 percent, or 71 teens, in 2002.
The decline in Erie County jibes with national statistics. The teen birthrate in the U.S. plummeted from about 42 per 1,000 teens in 2007 to 31 per 1,000 teens in 2011, according to data recently released by the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 
“The steady decline in teen pregnancy represents one of the nation’s great success stories,” Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, said in a release.
The organization, which seeks to improve the lives and future of children and families, is still wary of the figures.
“Despite all of this amazing progress, it is still the case that nearly three in 10 girls get pregnant by age 20, and that the U.S. has the highest teen pregnancy rate among comparable countries,” Brown stated.
As an example, the U.S. teen birth rate nearly triples Canada’s 13 births per 1,000 teens, and it’s almost double the United Kingdom’s 27 births per 1,000 teens, according to The National Campaign.
Birth control
Erie County’s plunging teenage birth rate could be partly attributed to better access to birth control, said Dr. Laurie Rousseau, a Berlin Heights family medicine physician affiliated with Firelands Regional Medical Center.
“Access is probably improved due to increased education about how and where to obtain birth control,” Rousseau said. “Within the past 10 years, the cost of birth control has become much more affordable for those who do not have insurance or if their plan doesn’t cover birth control.”
Case in point: A variety of generic prescription oral contraceptives can be purchased for about $9 a month at most convenience stores and pharmacies, Rousseau said.
And while it’s cheap and effective, birth control is also relatively safe, Rousseau said.
Most birth control medicines, however, require a prescription from a health care professional. But condoms can be purchased over-the-counter at most pharmacies and convenience stores.
“When used consistently and correctly, they are an excellent form of birth control,” Rousseau said about condoms.
A new healthcare policy authored by President Barack Obama a year ago now provides better access to birth control.
“Access is available now, free and to anyone under 18 at their local health department and family planning clinics,” Rousseau said. “Over the age of 18, the cost is adjusted based on income and ability to pay.”
There are also safeguards in place to ensure a teenage mother’s care remains private.
“Any teen can be seen by their private physicians for any reproductive issue — birth control, counseling, sexually transmitted disease treatment, etc. — with complete confidentiality without parental consent,” Rousseau said. “The
Affordable Healthcare Act will mandate that all insurances cover more prescriptions for birth control.”:
Helping teens and tots
In Erie County, two leading organizations help young mothers cope with the surprises and stress of parenthood. At the Erie County Health Department, officials educate thousands of children each year about the risks of teen pregnancy.
Whether they’re in school or visiting the Superior Street facility, officials routinely inform teens about sex.
“(Teens) receive the usual standard of maternity care,” Erie County health commissioner Pete Schade said. “We do address specific needs and require parental consent to treat a teen under 18. We can refer them to other community resources as needed.”
Workers at Heartbeat of Sandusky, a Perkins Township-based pregnancy center and maternity home, aim to provide mothers and families with emotional support as they enter trying times.
The nonprofit social service agency does not receive any government subsidies. It assisted about 350 people in 2012.
Among the programs catered to teen moms: SMILE, where nurses from Firelands Regional Medical Center talk to teen moms and moms-to-be about preparing for motherhood. The talks range from nutrition to labor and delivery along with properly bathing a baby.
“None of us are perfect,” Heartbeat’s executive director Mattie Sparks said. “Rather than being the problem, you can be part of the solution. Young moms come in here. They made a poor choice, so we have to help and encourage them. All someone needs is helping making good choices, and we want to move forward and make the best of the decision.”
Proud mom
Engel’s not enrolled in either program.
And despite the challenges she faces today, and expects later on, being a parent still thrills her.
“I love being a mom,” Engel said. “It’s wonderful. I like staying home with him. Whatever he is interested in, I’m going to support him 100 percent and hope he gets everything he wants in life.”
* * * 
Expectant teens and those who already given birth can turn to local agencies for help:
Erie County Health Department
Where:420 Superior St., Sandusky
Phone: 419-626-5623
Heartbeat of Sandusky
Where: 3423 Columbus Ave., Perkins Township
Phone: 419-625-9511



Reagan, Mr. I can't remember, also raised taxes how many times? Pull the bologna out of your backside.


Actually, I am a registered democrat and a social worker. I have worked in several Department of Job and Family Services. You spout what you feel are facts but I spend 20+ years working in the system. I see abuse of the system all the time. I am burnt out. I love helping people but the fact is the majority of people feel it is the the government's job to support people and their poor choices. Unplanned pregnancy is a poor choice. I believe in helping those who deserve it like the elderly, disabled, and those who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own. I also believe in helping children. Parents need to work to teach their children good work ethics. They also need to do so as a way of teaching them what it means to take responsibility for their behavior, good or bad. So, I worked the system and until you have you won't tell me anything. I am still a social worker but I need a change because I no longer have patience for the ones who abuse the system and hear the same old excuses generation after generation after generation.


Kudos to her for staying home with her baby instead of working???? Nonsense! I don't want money taken out of my paycheck to pay for her to stay home and do nothing but be a mom! I work with single mothers who work two jobs and still are excellent mothers!!!! You can work and still be a great mom. In fact, you are a better mom if you do because you are teaching your children responsibility. Minimum wage dollars are better than no dollars and hour and income means so much more when you earn it yourself. No, I will not praise her choice to stay home. Now, if she is looking earnestly looking for work and having trouble then therer are agencies to help her. Also, they make you earn your benefits now so she will work if she wants her benefits. She will just work for the county. Being pregnant or having kids is not a disability that should be paid for by the government. It is a decision, even if it was unplanned. You decide to have unprotected sex. You play you pay.


"Trying to find a babysitter to get things done"...if she has no job, what is she trying to get done? Why would she need a babysitter? If she has not job, how does she pay the babysitter? Quit your crying and put your BIG GIRL PANTIES on! GROW UP. You have a baby. Quit living off other people and get a job, get a babysitter and grow up. You are a mom. He relies on YOU. You need to QUIT relying on others. No more going out. No more fancy hair cuts, colors, no more manicures, no more tattoos, no more smartphones, no more fancy clothes/shoes. It is ALL about your BABY now! You got to work, you take care of him. That's IT. (be glad you didn't have twins, I did. But then again I was married to the baby(ies) daddy)


LMAO....great comment!!!


What is so hard about putting on a condom or simply keeping your legs closed? Some of these people get knocked up on purpose to get welfare.. Stop handing everything out and they'll stop having them.. that includes free coats , housing , medical, free school fees, food, and school clothes/ supplies, Christmas gifts etc. It's not up to the rest of us to support and provide for your kids.

Yes, there are some success stories and some single parents who do it without any assistance, however,, those cases are VERY far and few between.


Most of the birthers spit out babies like a machine since it's "trendy" to have mom or grandma practically adopt the child while the teen is out catting. CATTING!(?)!! I mean..."HUMANING!" Atrocious shows like "Teen Mom" glorify this sponging & unethical trampiness.


Now with Obamacare 12 year olds can receive free birth control without parental knowledge. The government has stepped into the role of parent . God help us.


Donut: Would you rather the 12-year-old actually have the child? Isn't providing birth control a less costly option? I would agree that it would be better if the gov't didn't have to assume the role of the parent. I would urge you to vote Democrat, since the conservative party works so hard to cut funding to programs that would actually help prevent the very problems they decry.



I would rather have teens not having babies until they are of age to support their offspring.

If a teen gets pregnant it's a mistake. If that teen continues to produce additional children its a chosen lifestyle.

I believe government support should be reduced with each additional child.


What age would that be? Can they support themselves with a job from you?


More idiocy from the moron-in-chief.^^

The Answer Person

I am confused as to why we celebrate fornication and illegitimacy in teen girls yet gay marriage is out 'cause the bible stories tell us so???


Have you seen Teen MOM or 16 and Pregnant? The shows that Glamourize it? They make it COOL to be pregnant. It is the fun thing to do. You can get your own show. Heck you get baby showers and announcements and everything now if you are unwed, underage and pregnant!


where in this story does it say she is on welfare? i watched the mtv reality show teen mom and 16 and pregnant and I saw those young ladies showing the hardships of having a child. maybe she needs a sitter to apply for work or school. we don't know the whole story so maybe we should save all these angry posts until you do. who said anything about smartphones or manicures? I had to reread the story because I thought it was about teen pregnancy rate dropping, silly me.


So you really believe someone is paying her way? LOL. OOOOKKKK!


Are you paying it GI Joe? Tell me how! You have no idea where she lives!


Not everyone who finds themselves in this situation uses the government to get by - I have a child in this situation and we support them both as a part of our family - no Welfare involved. Happy camper - she probably doesn't work because the minimum wage, seasonal job she could find would simply pay for the babysitter that she needs to have in order to work. Plus, kudos to her for staying home with her baby. Ladydye - every situation is not the same - she is probably sitting on the couch of her parents' home where she may still live. (not in a Metro home as you are assuming) She may be talking about babysitters for doing things like getting her hair cut -nearly impossible with a small baby. This is not the problem of one political party - it happens to everyone. I will never vote straight democrat because they are the reason it is easier or more practical to collect benefits than to work. If the jobs available were able to support people, yes there would still be the few that don't want to work for what they have, but I believe that far fewer people would look at their options and say "Oh, I'd rather pull out a food stamp card in line at the grocery store and have everything I buy analyzed by the person behind me." I advise that no one ever votes for 1 political party but, instead, votes using common sense.



The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone



Why do people always assume that an unplanned pregnancy is the result of unprotected sex? No birth control method is 100% effective. People get pregnant even when using birth control. I had a friend once whose three kids (she was an adult and married) were all the result of various forms of birth control that failed.