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At Least the Teen Pregnancy Rate Isn't Getting Higher...

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Remember how 2006 and 2007 saw a slight rise in America's teen pregnancy rate after a 15 year decline? Well, it seems that this was just a blip and not a permanent trend. Phew.

The CDC released data today showing that,

“The birth rate for US teenagers 15-19 fell 2 percent in 2008 to 41.5 per 1,000, reversing a brief two-year increase that had halted the long-term decline from 1991 to 2005. The birth rate for Hispanic teenagers declined to an historic low."

But what was behind that temporary rise anyhow? It's tough to say for sure, but a link between the lack of access to birth control and abortions for teens, and the impact of Bush era abstinence-only programs seems fairly obvious. And 2008, the year that we saw the halting of rising teen pregnancy rates? Well, that was also the one in which twenty-five states declined the federal abstinence-only funding. That's a big change from the preceding years when as many as forty-nine states were accepting the money.

Of course, it is also important to note that during this time, the birth rate for women of all ages, not just teens, was rising to its 2007 peak.

In the grand scheme of things the slight rise and now slight decline aren't such a big deal. But what is, is the fact that America has long boasted the highest rate of teen pregnancy in the Western World. So while we should feel a little better about our situation, we also need to realize that when you are starting from a bad place, the simple fact that things aren’t getting worse isn’t necessarily a cause for celebration.

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