“We had very young grandparents, grandparents were maybe [in their] 30s,” says Michelle Nimmons, who has worked for the past 30 years on the issue of teen pregnancy. “Great-grandmamas were in their 40s and parents were in their teens, so a lot of education had to happen.”
Nimmons’ efforts have paid off in Denmark and around the country in the last couple decades. Since the 1990s, teen pregnancies have decreased by more than 50 percent, as a from The Brookings Institution reports.
Denmark now has one of the lowest teen pregnancy rates in South Carolina, and now every student there gets comprehensive sex education starting in middle school. But those changes were hard-fought over many years. Nimmons tells NPR’s Rachel Martin that the biggest challenge to reducing teen pregnancies has been getting people to acknowledge that there’s a problem in the first place.