Teen Pregnancies Drop to Record Low

The numbers don’t lie; across America there have been drops in teen (ages 15-19) pregnancies. There are several serious risks concerning teen pregnancies. The financial, health, physical and emotional issues are invariable. Teenagers often don’t have the means to support a newborn and there are various dangers to both the mother and child’s health.

In all of 2012, there were only 34.3 teenage births per 1,000 women throughout the nation. This drop has transcended nationalities and ethnicities and represents a different pattern. CNN Health reports, “Experts suggested that the numbers may mean more teens are delaying sex or using contraception, representing gains for both abstinence-only and contraceptive education programs.” It appears that a nationwide effort to promote sex-ed and raise awareness of teen pregnancy has helped ameliorate the issue.

“A report released last year found that the rate of teenagers having sex decreased slightly, following an overall trend of decline in teenage sex in the last 20 years. Recent data has found increased use of contraception, such as condoms and hormonal birth control,” Madison Parker of CNN Health suggests. While it can be difficult to trust surveys concerning drops in teenage sex, the proliferation of contraception might be easily traced. Moreover, a comprehensive safe-sex program would promote the use of such contraception.

Furthermore, Mic found that most abstinence-only programs have been wholly ineffective. In fact, Matt Essert of New.Mic asserted, “teenagers who received comprehensive sex education were 60% less likely to get pregnant than someone who received abstinence-only education.” These numbers can be tricky because it is hard to determine what entirely defines “comprehensive sex education,” but surely the availability of contraception, usually not provided by abstinence education, helps. Essert also wrote, “A 2007 federal report found that abstinence-only programs have had "no impacts on rates of sexual abstinence," reported ThinkProgress.”

Image courtesy of BC Students for Sexual Health

Image courtesy of BC Students for Sexual Health

All of this information means that, though it appears that a “comprehensive sex education” is more effective, teenage pregnancy is down. Still, the availability of contraception is vital. Many have discussed the possibility of contraceptives being made accessible on Catholic campuses, like Boston College, and the benefits it would provide. Studies that have demonstrated the effectiveness of contraception in lowering teen pregnancies would certainly support this. That debate is still open, but the fact remains that teen pregnancies have reached a record low and all parties agree that is a step in the right direction.

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