Teenage Pregnancy Rate Drops To New Low In The US

Birth Control
Greater access to contraception is believed to be behind the record low numbers of teen mothers in the US. Nickle via Flickr Creative Com

The teenage pregnancy rate in the US has dropped to a record low  and is down close to half the rate that it was in 1991a report published in the journal Pediatrics shows.

Data released by the National center for Health Statistics, showed that although teenage pregnancies are down significantly, the rates of teens having sex isn't.  This indicates that teens are choosing to practice safe sex when they do choose to have sex.

The new rate is around 31.3 births per 1,000 girls and women aged 15-19.

There are a few hints as to why this is exactly happening, but there is no solid data yet.

The CDC has changed recommendations and now suggests long-acting birth control methods such as IUD's and hormonal birth implants. The Obama administration now requires health insurance companies to provide birth control for free, even without a co-pay (which benefits the insurance companies by avoiding long term support of a new young mother and baby).

Additionally, new regulations have made it unnecessary for women to undergo full pelvic examinations in order to obtain a prescription from their doctor. These guidelines allow woman to get prescriptions without an exam even if they are under the age of 21.

Pilot programs like on in New York City public schools have provided morning-after pills to students free of charge if they are in need of them.  In the 1 million student strong NYC public school system, there are 7,000 teenage pregnancies in girls aged 15-17.  

This is good news in light of previous reports that indicated that abstinence only sexual education in schools led to a skewing of teenage pregnancy in southern states.  

 

 

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