Reasons for Abstinence

Teen Pregnancy: Reality Check

The "2002 Kids Count Book," published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, contains data on the decreasing teen birth rates across the USA. http://www.aecf.org/kidscount/auxiliary_2002/table1_5.htm.

The U.S. Teen Pregnancy Rate declined by 36% from 1990-2002.

The U.S. Teen Birth Rate declined by fully one-third from 1991-2004.

[Other sources noted in the early new milennium that Teen birth rates dropped by 57% since the nineties]

The birth rate among teenagers declined 2 percent in 2005, continuing a trend from the early 1990s. The rate is now about 40 births per 1,000 females ages 15 to 19. That is the lowest level in the 65 years for which a consistent series of rates is available.
 
 The U.S. teen birth rate is still the highest among industrialized countries.
 
 The U.S. Teen Abortion Rate declined by 37% from 1990-2002
. [Alan Guttmacher Institute, 10/06; National Center for Health Statistics, 11/06]

Other Statistics:

• More than 800,000 teenagers become pregnant each year(1)

• 34% of girls become pregnant at least once before age 20(2)

• 11% of pregnant 15–17-year-olds have already been pregnant at least once before(2)

Twenty percent of teens are sexually active before the age of 15, and 14% of these teens with early sexual debut will become pregnant during their teen years.(2)

The same behavior – sexual activity – that places young persons at risk for pregnancy also increases their risk for STIs, including HIV.

Over the period 1991–2001, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that while the overall prevalence of sexual activity had not changed, the prevalence of alcohol or drug use before last sexual intercourse had increased.

One-fourth of sexually active high school students report using drugs or alcohol during their most recent sexual experience, and 13% of teens report having done something sexual while using drugs or alcohol that they wouldn't have done while sober.

Many teens report using alcohol – or even being intoxicated – when they had their first sexual experience.(3) Alcohol and other drugs can affect judgment and lead to risk taking, with especially serious consequences for teens. Substance abuse affects a person’s ability to make judgments about sexual behavior, thus increasing the risk for pregnancy, sexual assault and sexually transmitted diseases.

Teens whose sexual debut occurs at a young age are exposed to the consequences of sexual risk behavior for longer periods of time and are likely to have more sexual partners. The top risk factor for acquiring an STD is the lifetime number of sex partners.(2)

Adolescent pregnancy is associated with higher rates of illness and death for both the mother and infant. Teenage girls are less emotionally and physically capable of having a healthy baby.

Pregnant teens are at higher risk of having serious medical complications such as toxemia, hypertension, anemia, premature delivery, and placenta previa.

The maternal death rate for mothers <15 years is greater than that of women in their 20s and is 3 times as high for unmarried women as for married women.(4)

References:
1. National Vital Statistics Reports. Final Data for 2002. 2003; 52(10) National Center for Health Statistics. Available at:
http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr52/nvsr52_10.pdf. Accessed April 19, 2004.
2. 14 and Younger, The Sexual Behavior of Young Adolescents. National Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, May 2003. Available at:
http://www.teenpregnancy.org.
3. Youth Risk Behavior Survey 1991-2001. Available at:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5138a2.htm. Accessed April 19, 2004.
4. Pregnancy-Related Mortality Surveillance – United States, 1991-1999. MMWR 52 (SS-2) February 21, 2003. Available at:
http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/PDF/ss/ss5202.pdf. Accessed April 19, 2004.
[http://www.medinstitute.org/health/nonmarital_pregnancy.html?nonmarital_pregnancy_item=9731&db_item=listitem]

  • Eighty-five percent of teenage pregnancies are unplanned, accounting for one-quarter of all unplanned pregnancies each year.

 

  • Most teenage pregnancies each year  (960,000 in 1992) end in birth; about one-fourth end in abortion (20%) and the rest in miscarriage (14%).

 

  • Among sexually experienced teenagers, about 16% of 14-year-olds, 17% of 15- 17-year-olds, and 23% of 18-19-year-olds  become pregnant each year.

 

  • Teenage pregnancy rates are much higher in the United States than in many other developed countries — twice as high as in England and Wales, France and Canada; and 9 times as high as in the Netherlands or Japan.

 

  • Of all births to U.S. women, 13% are to teenagers.

 

  •  17.5 percent of U.S. abortions in 2002 were to teenagers.

 

  • A majority of teens (55%) say when teens have unplanned pregnancies, it's "often" a result of having sex when drunk or on drugs. Forty-six percent say it's "often" because teens have sex when they don't have  birth control with them.

 

  • The GOOD NEWS is that more and more teens are learning about sexual ABSTINENCE, and so are deciding to avoid sexual contacts, or stop having sexual contacts, until they get married.  In this way, they can stop worrying about the physical and emotional dangers of sexual activity.

 

  • The national 2001 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey found that more than 54 percent of students, grades 9 through 12, have never been sexually active.

 

  • HHS Secretary Thompson released a report showing birthrates among teenagers fell for the 10th straight year to a new record low in 2001. Prepared by the CDC, the report, "Births: Preliminary Data for 2001," shows the teen birthrate dropped 5 percent in 2001, from 48.5 births/1,000 females aged 15-19 in 2000 to 45.9 in 2001. Since 1991, the overall teen birthrate has declined 26 percent. Younger teens made the best progress: the birthrate for teenagers 15-17 years old fell 8 percent in 2001, and has dropped 35 percent since 1991. The rate for teens 18-19 years of age dropped 4 percent in 2001 and has fallen 20 percent since 1991.