Bryant urges teens to wait before having children - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Bryant urges teens to wait before having children

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Governor Phil Bryant encourages hundreds of teenagers to take a stand against teen pregnancy.

He made the speech Sunday night at the Salvation Army Community Center in Jackson.

The program wrapped up the organization's four week teenage pregnancy prevention program, WHY W.A.I.T.

The teens took a pledge and received a bracelet as a reminder to wait before having children.

"We want to reduce teenage pregnancy in Mississippi within two years by 15%, and we believe this program, WHY W.A.I.T... Worthy Actions - Intentional Thinking, will help kids come to the realization they can live a different kind of life," explained Jackson Salvation Army Captain Ken Chapman.

Bryant spoke to about 250 kids and their parents about the social, economic, and educational impacts having a child can make on their lives.

The first-term Republican also said sex-education starts with parents, who have the right to make the decision about whether their child will receive abstinence or abstinence-plus education in school. He says parents should also decide whether their child receives birth control.

Bryant believes illegal sex with minors is making an impact on the growing teen pregnancy rate in the state.

"It's very important that adult men understand that they have got to stop having sex with 13, 14 year-old girls and if they do we're gonna apprehend them as a sexual predator and send them to jail," said Bryant.

Bryant believes bills will be introduced in the next legislative session to tighten laws on those who have sex with minors.

Mississippi leads the nation in teen pregnancy rates.

 The Salvation Army plans to introduce the program in other areas of the state.

Copyright 2012 WLBT. All rights reserved.

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