By Molly Messick
Laramie, WY – The Wyoming Children's Action Alliance is trying to draw attention to the high rate of teen pregnancy in some counties in the state. Wyoming's teen pregnancy rate in 2009 was somewhat higher than the national average and at least five counties had rates 10 percent higher than that state average. Natrona County saw a steep increase in its teen pregnancy rate between 2000 and 2009. Natrona County Health Department clinic director Tia Hansuld (HAN-sold) says it's hard to pinpoint why the rate has gone up. But she says the lack of comprehensive sex education could be one factor.
"I think the sex ed is very limited. I think it's sporadic. We will go in and do some education in these areas, but the schools kind of limit us on what we can do. We're not allowed to talk about condoms. That may be part of the problem with the pregnancy rate."
The school district's director of curriculum and instruction says students receive health instruction through high school physical education classes, and he adds that the sex ed component is quote "very minimal." In 2009, Natrona County had a teen birth rate of 58 births per one thousand females ages 15 to 19. The national rate was 39 per one thousand.