Local school authorities say most of the babies born to girls under the age of 19 are the result of teenage relationships. Is it fair for society to blame the girl if she becomes pregnant? We asked local gynecologist Dr. Ronnye Purvis if boys willingly accept at least some of the responsibility.
"I would say not as much as young ladies." said Purvis. "Young men again feel as though it's a notch on their belt for the number of women they can be sexually active with and in some cases, in certain communities, how many children they can have. It's an expression of their manhood."
Purvis said that attitude leaves girls no choice.
"But in the same manner women are actually taking on the role of responsibility to use the condoms, to go to the health department, to get their annual checkup.," said Purvis. "Young boys are not taught to do those sort of things, to be responsible for women."
Is there anything that will change that attitude?
"I think we always leave the responsibility on the female to get the sex education" said Purvis. "Men have got to start taking young men and showing them as well that they have a responsibility to society as well."
Katy Watkins who head Parents as Teachers, a Meridian Public Schools program designed to help pregnant teenagers agrees boys do not accept their share of responsibility.
"We've run into young ladies who are pregnant by a young man and before the birth of the baby this young man has become involved with another student. So what I see is sometimes there's that not loyalty to one girl," said Watkins.
As the problem becomes more complex the Meridian Public Schools are trying to deal with it by a program designed to teach and encourage sexual abstinence.