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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Teenage birth rate rises for the first time since 1991

For the first time since 1991, teen birth rates rose in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control. Note that this survey only refers to birth rates, not pregnancy rates.

The most significant finding of this comprehensive study of American birth rates is that birth rate for teens ages 15-17 climbed 3 percent and for teens aged 18-19 the rate climbed 4 percent. This is the first increase in 16 years.

It's not entirely clear what the reasons for this increase are. It could be, and I'm inclined towards this viewpoint, that the anti-family planning policies of the Bush Administration have slowly worn down the good work done to increase rates of family planning and condom use during the Clinton Administration, and now we're reaping the rewards.

The more important figure, I think, is how many of these pregnancies were unintended. That's the number that we can then wave at policy makers and demand a change of course from abstinence-only (read stupid) sexuality education to age-appropriate and fact-based sex education.


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