Washington girl fakes pregnancy for school project

Gaby Rodriguez of Toppenish, Washington, recently undertook a social experiment that has raised many questions regarding pregnancy among teens and young women in America. As part of a school project, she faked a pregnancy for months, wearing a fake stomach to school, only to remove it during a school assembly, according to The Associated Press.

Teenage pregnancy is a hot topic among media outlets and social commentators. Rates of pregnancy among young Hispanic women, such as Rodriguez and many of her fellow students, are higher than other demographics.

For the six-and-a-half months that Rodriguez faked pregnancy, she did her best to record any comments she heard her peers making about her. The results provided examples of the rather disturbing attitudes students and educators alike have about young women who become pregnant.

She presented these comments at the school assembly, then turned to the crowd and said, "I'm fighting against those stereotypes …because the reality is, I'm not pregnant," according to the news source. She then removed the fake stomach.

More than half of Latina teenagers will become pregnant before they turn 20, according to numbers from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy. This may be due in part to the fact that many of these young women attend schools that do not have adequate teen sex education.

"It's a shocking statistic," Jessica Sheets, a spokeswoman for the campaign, told the news organization. "I'm impressed by how courageous [Rodriguez] was and by how much empathy she has. It's pretty clear that she was able to reach a pretty large group of her peers in a very innovative way."

In addition to STD prevention, safer sex education can encourage teens to use a condom when they have sex. This can help lower the number of unplanned pregnancies and decrease the likelihood of teens contracting sexually transmitted infections.

According to Planned Parenthood, using a condom every time one has sex significantly lowers the chance of becoming pregnant. Among women whose partners consistently use condoms, only two out of 100 will become pregnant. In contrast, around 15 out of 100 women whose partners wear a condom only some of the time will become pregnant.

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