teen pregnancy, social welfare history, feminist, welfare reform


Teen pregnancy has long been considered a social and moral problem in the United States. Politicians and community organizations have repeatedly attempted to ameliorate this social issue by enacting legislation and promoting educational campaigns for prevention. These campaigns and legislative measures mention the long-term consequences of bearing a child as a young woman, though they fail to discuss how and why teenage pregnancy became an American issue in the first place. While feminists critique public responses to motherhood and mothering, teen pregnancy is not necessarily seen as a feminist issue. The problematizing of teen pregnancy in American social history, however, is certainly a feminist issue. This article provides a social history of teen pregnancy in the United States, especially through welfare reform in the 1990s, and discusses how this continues to influence and marginalize youth today.

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