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Teen Health 411
Teen Health 411

Contraceptive Use is Helping to Reduce Adolescent Pregnancy Rates

So sorry to say - it is not abstinence! The January 2007 issue of the American Journal of Public Health includes an article that reports the declining adolescent pregnancy rates in the United States between 1995 and 2002 were primarily due to improved contraception use. Okay, okay, there was some of the decline explained by the delay in initiation of sexual intercourse, but the majority of the decline is explained by improved contraceptive use.

The authors presents data from the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG)which is a nationally representative household survey. The good news is the the adolescent pregnancy rates in the United States declined 27% from 1991 to 2000. In addition, the authors of this article found that 14% of the change in pregnancy risk among adolescents ages 15-19 was attributable to the decrease in the percentage of sexually active young women, while 86% was due to changes in contraceptive use, and all of the change in pregnancy risk among 18-19 year olds was the result of increased contraceptive use.

I do not know about you, but these findings raise some serious questions about the current US government policies that promote abstinence-only as the primary strategy to prevent teenage pregnancy!

Photo credit: kate auh20

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About the Author

Dr. Brown is a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescent health.