December 4, 2006
On Friday, researchers at the Guttmacher Institute published an article in the American Journal of Public Health that attributes the recent decline in teen pregnancy rates to better contraceptive use. The article entitled, "Explaining Recent Declines in Adolescent Pregnancy in the United States: The Contribution of Abstinence and Improved Contraceptive Use"
notes that pregnancy rates among U.S. girls aged 15 to 19 dropped by 27 percent between 1991 and 2000 and says that contraception is responsible for 86 percent of this decline, while abstinence only accounts for 14 percent of the decrease.
The study has received limited press coverage in Forbes (Contraception Driving U.S. Decline in Teen Pregnancies
) and Spotlighting News (US Teen Pregnancy Rates Declined
). Hopefully more news outlets will pick up on this story as it highlights the important role of contraceptives in helping teens to avoid pregnancy -- a role currently ignored by the federal government's abstinence-only-until-marriage programs.
Edit: ABC News picked up the story. The article notes that there isn't widespread support among the public for abstinence-only-until-marriage education:
But in a recent survey of nearly 1,110 U.S. adults, 82 percent supported programs that discuss abstinence as well as other methods for preventing pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. Half of those surveyed were in outright opposition to abstinence-only education.