Teen Pregnancy, Abortion Rates Rise
Jim LiebeltJim is Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University. Jim has over 25 years of experience as a youth and family ministry specialist, and has been on the HomeWord staff since 1998. He has served over the years as a pastor, author, youth ministry trainer, adjunct college instructor and speaker. Jim’s culture blog and parenting articles appear on HomeWord.com. Jim is a contributing author of culture and parenting articles to Crosswalk.com. Jim and his wife Jenny live in Olympia, WA.
- 2010 Jan 26
A new report demonstrates a slight increase in teen pregnancy, and abortions, as well as a modest increase in teen live births during 2006. What strikes me most in this report is that two-thirds of teen pregnancies were in ages 18-19. To me, it would seem responsible for parents and educators to place more focus on preventative efforts on this demographic -- where most teen pregnancies occur -- to the young college-age person.
The teen pregnancy rate in the USA rose 3% in 2006, the first increase in more than a decade, according to data out today. The data also show higher rates of births and abortions among girls 15-19.
The numbers, calculated by the Guttmacher Institute, a non-profit group that studies reproductive and sexual health, show a clear reversal from the downward trend that began in the 1990s.
About 7% of teen girls got pregnant in 2006, a rate of 71.5 pregnancies per 1,000 teens. That's up slightly from 69.5 in 2005, Guttmacher says. In 1990, when rates peaked, about 12% got pregnant.
Guttmacher and others suggest the increase is related
to a focus on abstinence-only sex education programs under the Bush
Funding for abstinence doubled from 2000 to 2003, to $120 million. By 2008, funding was at $176 million. Guttmacher is an outspoken opponent of abstinence-only education.
the other side cry foul. "To me, it appears to be another opportunity
to throw a barb at abstinence education," says Valerie Huber of the
National Abstinence Education Association. She says that only a quarter
of federal funding for teen sexuality programs went to abstinence in
In 2006, two-thirds of all teen pregnancies were to ages 18-19; data do not reflect marital status.
Guttmacher's analysis shows a 4% increase in the teen birth rate and a 1% rise in abortion rates, based on federal statistics and Guttmacher's abortion research. The National Center for Health Statistics will release its pregnancy rate data later this year.