New statistics released in recent years are showing a possible correlation between teenage pregnancy and abortion rates. While the number of unintended pregnancies is lower than it was in the 1990s among teens, the rates in teenage pregnancy and abortion are beginning to climb.
According to teen pregnancy statistics released by the Guttmacher Institute, a reproductive health organization, the number of teen pregnancies each year is at about 71.5 pregnancies for every 1,000 teen females. These numbers also reveal that while the numbers of teens in minority groups ending their pregnancies in abortion is going down, the overall trend of abortion rates are going up, at least one percent, among girls ages 15 to 19.
Teenage pregnancy and abortion statistics:
While the numbers of unintended teen pregnancies has risen about three percent since 2006, and the substantial decline in teen pregnancy between 1990 and 2006, the current number teen pregnancies is possibly starting to decline again. However, the numbers seem to be at a standstill currently. Researchers are unsure if the slow start to the decline of the number of teenage pregnancies could be a correlation to the increase in abortions, or if the abstinence-only sex education is finally beginning to work.
Overall, the number of teens having sex in general is beginning to decline, according to new numbers released by the Centers for Disease Control with about 70 percent of all teens having sex before age 19. This is at about a four percent decline, according to the new 2011 studies on teen sexual behaviors. Some researchers believe that while teens are not having as much sex, the teen pregnancy rate and abortion rate has not dropped enough to correlate that teen sex education courses can be responsible for the decline. In fact, it seems likely that teens are having less sex, but the teens that are still having sex are not going about it as safely. The number of sexually transmitted diseases are also up among teens age 15 to 19.
The reasons behind teenage pregnancy and abortion rates:
Researchers for the Guttmacher Institute have concluded that increased spending on abstinence-only education – $176 million in 2008 – is not worth the dollars being poured into such a type of education for teens. Overall data supports that while pregnancies carried to full term may be going down, abortions are not, which can leave one to conclude that teens are still getting pregnant. However, some researchers simply feel that organizations like Guttmacher are just looking for an excuse to take aims at abstinence education in the public school system. According to an article in Time Magazine based on statistics from the Guttmacher report, some states are doing better than others in terms of how many teens are getting pregnant each year. States are working to follow the trends set by California, Hawaii and New Hampshire, which are the top three states for driving down the number of pregnant teens. Other states are working to figure out what these top trending states are doing in order to emulate the process in hopes of driving down the numbers of teens getting pregnant. Teenage pregnancy and abortion rates in the United States are still considered exceptionally high compared to other developed countries, which is why so many organizations like Guttmacher and Planned Parenthood are working to advocate for a change in the United States federal policy on sexual education in the public school system.
In the mean time, parents can take a more proactive role in helping to drive down these numbers on their own by tackling the issue of teenage pregnancy and abortion in their own homes with their children and teens. First and foremost it is important for parents to understand that their children are being exposed to sex earlier and earlier with each new generation. It is important for parents to get to their child first before they think they have learned all there is to know about sex from their friends and peers. Most sex education courses in American high schools are not taught until the 11th grade. This presents a problem for those high percentage of teens having sex prior to age 16. If parents take a more active role in speaking to their teen about sex and how to practice safe sex early and keep that line of communication open, they are more likely to assist their child in making smart decisions when it comes to sex and other sexual activities. Topics like sex, abortion and STDs should all be discussed in order to prevent these numbers with teenage pregnancy and abortion as well as STDs from continuing to climb.
Sources: usatoday.com, guttmacher.org, CDC.gov, time.com,