Why

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I recently spoke with a 19-year-old young woman and we discussed her recent enrollment in an online high school. She is a mother of three who is friendly, confident, and loves her children. She had her first child in the summer between 8th and 9th grade and the father was much older. She started puberty at 9 and believes this is the primary reason she had a child so young. Due to the birth of her first child, she was forced to dropped out of school in the 9th grade because the state was threatening to involve child protective services and the school was threatening expulsion for lack of attendance. Additionally, this young woman was left to manage her own anxiety and ADHD with no support from a health care provider. Further, to manage her anxiety she smoked throughout her pregnancies and two of her children have ongoing health issues. As the conversation continued, she told me that she has a new live-in boyfriend so "she doesn’t really have to worry about her diploma now because he will take care of her, but she will give it a try". We talked about how impressive it is that she is heading back to school and staying so positive, however she seemed doubtful about her success. The online school she was attending required her to print documents, fill them out, then scan and upload them. However, she has no computer, printer, heat, or air conditioning, which are huge barriers to success. Life was happening to her and she was trying to change the course. 

I left the conversation re-affirmed in my conviction that no matter what choices people make about their reproductive health, it should always be an informed choice, not something that just happens to them. There should always be a place to go, no matter where you live, to receive high quality, compassionate, unbiased, and informed information about sex and reproduction.

Abby Hunt, HCET Executive Director