Prevention is Paying Off

Great news from the Guttmacher Institute this week – the rates of pregnancy, birth, and abortion among teens have hit historic lows.

According to the newly released research, the teen pregnancy rate declined by 51% between 1990 and 2010.  Over that same period, the teen birth rate also dropped by 44% and the teen abortion rate by an enormous 66%.

These numbers are an amazing reminder of the effectiveness of prevention.  “It appears that efforts to ensure teens can access the information and contraceptive services they need to prevent unwanted pregnancies are paying off,” said Kathryn Kost, a Guttmacher researcher. 

Teen pregnancy prevention is essential for a healthy nation, and prevention efforts and education provide enormous social and financial benefits. 

There is still more work to be done, though, especially with such a large disparity across states.  New Mexico maintains the highest rate of teen pregnancy, 80 per 1,000 girls, while New Hampshire has the lowest, 28 per 1,000 girls.  The authors of the report suggest that factors such as comprehensive sex education that includes information medically accurate about contraception in addition to abstinence education,  and availability of contraception, as well as cultural attitudes, play a role in this gap, illustrating that more prevention efforts are still vital moving forward. As pro-choice Republicans we know commonsense preventive family planning policies are not only effective at continuing to reduce rates of unintended pregnancy – but save taxpayer dollars. 

 

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