Kristen Alderson Addresses Teen Pregnancy Forum

Sunday, May 3, 2009 1:21 AM ET | Scotty Gore

( — With a recent spike in the teen birth rate across the United States, The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy is sponsoring a forum in the nation’s capitol to discuss ways to reverse the trend.  Among those featured to speak at the forum are Seventeen Magazine Editor-in-Chief Ann Shoket, talk show host Maury Povich, and “One Life to Live’s” Kristen Alderson (Starr Manning).

Llanview teen Starr Manning is no different than a lot of other teenage girls across the United States. Pregnant at the age of 16, and in no way prepared to become a mother.  Last year, after having unprotected sex with her boyfriend Cole Thornhart, Starr learned she was pregnant.  After considering abortion, she ultimately chose to keep the baby, allowing an older friend (Marcie McBain) to adopt it once born. Sadly however, the baby supposedly died at birth.  In the last two years, an increasing number of young ladies in this country are finding that their situations errily mirror that of the fictional soap character.  After 14 years on the decline, the nation’s teen birth rate soared 5% between 2005 and 2007.

In an effort to alert teens of the issues surrounding teen pregnancy, Alderson will team up with Maury Povich and a host of state and local leaders from around the country, experts in digital media, and representatives from the entertainment industry to host a forum in the First Amendment Lounge of the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. (529 14th Street NW) on Tuesday, May 5th from 10:00 am until 2:00 pm et. 

Major items on the agenda include theories as to why the teen birth rate is rising and how the trend may be reversed, innovative and creative ways to talk to teen about pregnancy on the state and local level, how best digital media can be used to educate teens, and what popluar media can and should do to help combat teen pregnancy. 

The forum takes place on the eve of the 8th annual commeration of the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy credits the media with highlighting the issue of teen pregnancy, such as “ABC daytime’s ‘One Life to Live’ and ABC Family’s ‘Secret Life of the American Teenager,’ which have both developed compelling story lines about teen pregnancy as well as extensive, thought-provoking online content.”  In addition, Povich plans to focus on prevtending teen pregnancy on his website, as well as upcoming episodes of his nationally syndicated talk show. 

“Given the recent increase in the teen birth rate, a renewed focus on preventing teen pregnancy is urgently needed,” said Sarah Brown, CEO of The National Campaign. “We hope our forum will help policymakers, practitioners, and parents realize that complacency is not an option just as we hope the National Day Quiz will help teens think carefully about sex and contraception, the possibility of pregnancy, and the lifelong challenges of being a parent.”

For more information on the teen pregnancy forum, click here.

“One Life to Live” airs Weekdays on ABC. Weeknights on SOAPnet. Check local listings.

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