Two conferences address Mississippi teen pregnancy rate

By Emily Wagster Pettus/The Associated Press

JACKSON — Organizers say it’s just a coincidence that separate conferences about teenage pregnancy are taking place in the same facility on the same day.

The back-to-back gatherings are Thursday at the Jackson Convention Complex.

The first one, for health professionals, educators and other adults, is sponsored by the Women’s Fund of Mississippi and the state Health Department. It focuses on “abstinence-plus” sex education, which is taught in 71 Mississippi school districts. The classes can include information about contraception without giving demonstrations of how to use condoms.

The second conference, with teenagers participating, is sponsored by the governor’s office and the state Department of Human Services. It’s expected to focus more on the abstinence-until-marriage approach that Republican Gov. Phil Bryant advocates. Eighty-one school districts teach abstinence only. Three teach a combination.