Pharos-Tribune

Columns

April 22, 2012

Becoming a parent too soon

At 15, Donna Henry had just been named the Pioneer Days queen, and for the first time in her life, she was one of the popular kids in school.

She was an honor student, and she hoped one day to be a physical therapist.

And then she got pregnant. Her whole life changed overnight.

Unfortunately, such stories are common in Cass County, which has a teen birth rate that is out of control.

Experts say the national rate, which is 34 births for every 1,000 girls ages 15 to 19, is higher than many Third World countries. The state rate is even higher at just above 37 births per 1,000 girls.

The county rate, though, blows those rates out of the water. The number of births per 1,000 teenage girls in Cass County now stands at 53.

The teenage pregnancy task force of an organization called Better Health for Cass County is hoping to cut that number dramatically. One way to start might be to have Henry share her story at schools throughout the county.

She shared it last week at a session that drew about 20 teenagers and adults to the Area Five children’s center.

Henry grew up in Royal Center in the 1960s and ’70s. Her parents never talked about sex, she said. They couldn’t even say the word out loud.

To her surprise, though, Henry’s parents, when she finally got up the nerve to talk to them about her dilemma, were supportive.

“My dad actually said, out loud, ‘Do you want to get an abortion?’” Henry recalled.

Henry said no. She planned to keep the baby.

Her dad asked if she and the child’s father planned to get married.

“Well, that was a given,” Henry recalled. “In 1975, that was a given.”

Pregnant girls in 1975 were not allowed to attend school. Henry had to take classes from home.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Columns
  • Holly Sklar SKLAR: Small businesses want minimum wage increase If Congress actually listened to small business owners, the minimum wage would be going up. Instead, July 24 will mark five years without an increase since the federal minimum wage was set at $7.25 an hour in 2009.Small business livelihoods depend on

    July 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • KITCHELL: Reaction times change, but motorists don't Earlier this year, I came home one afternoon to find the worst accident on North Street I can ever recall.A bevy of police cars and four flatbed trucks were removing the pawns in an accident that damaged four vehicles. It was a bit unusual considerin

    July 23, 2014

  • MARCUS: Tax simplification is no simple matter The governor and his select invitees to his closed tax conference last month praised simplifying Indiana’s tax code. It is an idea better loved by Americans than baseball, apple, pie or motherhood.There is no question that our national and state tax

    July 22, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: The sheer dumbness of an enormous dome There is a TV series about an entire town trapped under a giant, mysterious crystal-clear dome that appears out of the blue one day. The dome is impenetrable; no one can get in, no one can get out. Who made the dome? Aliens? God? A super-secret branc

    July 22, 2014

  • HAYDEN: Road to funding Indiana highways jammed If you’ve driven on either of Indiana’s two busiest interstates recently, you’ll understand why a blue-ribbon commission last week called for adding traffic lanes to those harrowing highways.The report, issued by the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Panel on T

    July 21, 2014

  • LYONS: When academic committees play 'police' If one believes even a significant fraction of the horror stories in the national news media, beastly male behavior has become almost epidemic on American college campuses. Tales of drunken sexual assaults and worse multiply from sea to shining sea.E

    July 21, 2014

  • CEPEDA: Hispanic women flock to the movies My family attended the first morning screening of “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” which won last weekend’s box office with a $73 million debut.According to Lucas Shaw’s recent article “Hispanic Women Are This Summer’s Most Avid Moviegoers” on the e

    July 20, 2014

  • thelma CONRAD: A true Lincoln original The Cass County Historical Society has had in its possession for many decades several documents containing the signature of President Abraham Lincoln. The society never doubted the authenticity of the signature, given the fact that most of the first

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • KNISELY: A day in the sun Every year I have my two nieces over for Misty and Me Birthday Slumber Party. The activities are always different, but the end result is always the same. It always ends with me being exhausted. Being single with no kids, my life is quiet. My life is

    July 20, 2014

  • HOWEY: A comeback saga for ‘LeBron Bayh’? This could be the saga of “LeBron Bayh.”Like a thunderhead brewing in the distance, you could see this one coming. This was the progression: former state Democratic Dan Parker announces he will not become a candidate for mayor of Indianapolis, reason

    July 20, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Poll

The Pence administration continues to cut Indiana agency budgets despite a state surplus of $2 billion. Is this wise management of state funds?

Yes
No
Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Judge Ponders Overturning Colo. Gay Marriage Ban Airlines Halt Travel to Israel Amid Violence NYPD Chief Calls for 'use of Force' Retraining VA Nominee McDonald Goes Before Congress Bush: Don't Worry, Sugarland Isn't Breaking Up US Official: Most Migrant Children to Be Removed Police Probing Brooklyn Bridge Flag Switch CDC Head Concerned About a Post-antibiotic Era Raw: First Lady Says `Drink Up' More Water Courts Conflicted Over Healthcare Law Holder Urges Bipartisanship on Immigration Raw: Truck, Train Crash Leads to Fireball US Airlines Cancel Israel Flights Obama Signs Workforce Training Law Crash Victims' Remains Reach Ukraine-held City Diplomatic Push Intensifies to End War in Gaza Cat Fans Lap Up Feline Film Festival Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die Veteran Creates Job During High Unemployment
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.