Monahans Coming Together to Fight Teen Pregnancy

By Geena Martinez
NewsWest 9

MONAHANS - The U.S. teen birth rate went down, but in one West Texas town, it's going up, and residents want to do something about it.

They held a meeting on Sunday to talk about the issue. They said it's not going to happen overnight but Sunday's meeting is the first step in the right direction.

20-year-old Debbie Gray knows first hand what it's like to be a young mother. She got pregnant when she was just 15.

"When you do get pregnant as a teen, there's no turning back," she said.

Debbie said it happens all too often, girls, and guys too, giving into peer pressure.

"What happened to me, I felt like it was peer pressure with the guy and look at me now," Debbie said. "I have my baby and he's nowhere. Nowhere to be seen."

Debbie's mother, Maria, organized the meeting, because she says too many teens in their town are turning up pregnant.

"Seeing all of this going on, there's too many girls pregnant and we need to do something about it," she said. "They don't realize that they're the ones that are gonna get stuck because the boys can walk."

Residents brainstormed what they can do to tackle the problem.

"We can help these kids, get them to go to school and the ones that dropped out, help them to get their GED," Maria said. "The ones that don't have any kids, get them some sort of education so that they can see that if they have a kid, their life is going to change."

"As a parent with a teenager, it really concerns me a lot," Eduardo Lopez said.

Lopez says sex education should start at home.

"We try to teach her to make right choices, we try to get her to think 'what would my parents want me to do?'" he said.

Lopez said kids don't have many options when it comes to having a good time in Monahans, and that could be part of the problem, but he and Maria hope to change that.

"I want to start having groups, see if we can raise some money and we can take them on trips," Maria said. "We can do things for them."

And as for Debbie, she hopes by sharing her story, others can learn from her experience.

"Friends saying do this, do that, don't listen to them because they're not going to be there in the end," she said. "Wait, you know, it's not what it is at all. Go to school, graduate, get your diploma."