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Bremyiah, 16, and her mother, Brittany Henson, in their home in Hemphill, TX, on Dec. 30, 2022.

For teens in Deep East Texas, accessing sex education and contraception is next to impossible

In conservative Sabine County, it’s hard for teens to access contraception or sex education beyond lessons on abstinence. The Deep East Texas region has one of the highest teen birth rates in the state.

West Sabine ISD superintendent Carnelius Gilder in Pineland, TX, on Monday, Dec. 19, 2022.

Evolving health education standards 

Students fill in the blanks of their “Choosing the Best Life” packets as an Excellent TEEN Choice instructor reads out information pertaining to STDs at Tenaha High School in Tenaha, TX on November 11, 2022.
Students walk to class in between class periods at Tenaha High School in Tenaha, TX photographed on November 11, 2022.
A homemade billboard along Farm to Market Road 83 outside of Hemphill on Dec. 30, 2022.

Inconsistent sex education 

Lead Facilitator of Excellent TEEN Choice, Eric Love, teaches a program about STDs to students at Tenaha High School in Tenaha, TX on November 11, 2022.
9th grade student Karina Corpus reacts to examination photos of people infected with STDs like gonorrhea, chlamydia, HPV and HIV during a program run by Excellent TEEN Choice at Tenaha High School in Tenaha, TX on November 11, 2022.
Valerie Polk stands in front of a cabinet containing several types of contraception at the clinic for Jasper-Newton County Health District in Jasper, TX, on Monday, Dec. 19, 2022.

Contraception access

Valerie Polk shows a nondescript package containing 12 free condoms available for anyone at the clinic for Jasper-Newton County Health District in Jasper, TX, on Monday, Dec. 19, 2022.
Brochures at the clinic for Jasper-Newton County Health District in Jasper, TX, on Monday, Dec. 19, 2022.
Brittany Henson snuggles her three-year-old son Leo in her home in Hemphill, TX, on Dec. 30, 2022.

Teen pregnancy

Bremyiah, 16, and her mother, Brittany Henson, in their home in Hemphill, TX, on Dec. 30, 2022.
Fifteen-year-old Bremyah holds a ring she bought and gave her mother in their home in Hemphill, TX, on Dec. 30, 2022.

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