Unintended pregnancies on the rise in S.C.

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More and more South Carolina women are getting pregnant unintentionally.
However, South Carolina ranks number three nationally in creativity and commitment in addressing the issue.

News 12's Meredith Taylor is on your side with what a local pregnancy center is doing.

Since 1987, hundreds of people have visited the Aiken Pregnancy Care Center and needed help.

“Some of those referrals from previous clients, sometimes health department refers to get slip to apply for Medicaid processing,” says client services manager Kelli Riley.

Riley says 200 to 250 women come for free pregnancy tests each year.
“Last year, we saw 106 positive tests, about the same number coming through, but a few more are testing positive than negative,” says Riley.

According to research from the Guttmacher Institute, a privately funded research group that focuses on sexual health and family issues, some blame the increase on state budget cuts in family planning programs.

Riley says it's something else.

“Just more promiscuity among young teens today,” she says. “Just more accepted to be sexually active.

The majority of clients here are between 18 and 24 years old.

The Palmetto State has the 17th highest teen pregnancy rate in the nation.
While the pregnancy center here in Aiken sees less people than the centers in the Augusta area, the slight increase in unintended pregnancies has volunteers pushing for education.

“Well we talk to the girls when they come in, especially if they test negative at that time, talk about abstinence until marriage,” says Riley. “Then, we go out to speak to different groups, we speak to church youth groups.”

Work that volunteers of this non-profit organization hope will put an end to an upward trend.

The pregnancy center also offers parenting classes and takes in donations. Nationally, half of all pregnancies are unintended.