Teen pregnancy and abortion up for the first time in a decade. Thanks, abstinence-only education!

After a decade-long decline, teen pregnancy rates rose in 2006. When the teen pregnancy rate dropped in the 1990s, it was largely because of increased contraception use. With the Bush administration in power, though, Congress directed a whole lot of money towards abstinence-only education — telling kids just to keep it in their pants until marriage (because we all know how well that works as a life-long “don’t get pregnant” plan). The result? A four percent rise in teen births, and a one percent rise in abortion.

The United States also has the highest rate of teen pregnancy, birth and abortion of any industrialized, Western nation. Seven percent of all teenage girls here get pregnant.


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About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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5 Responses to Teen pregnancy and abortion up for the first time in a decade. Thanks, abstinence-only education!

  1. Eugenia says:

    Thanks for this post–and thank goodness for the Guttmacher Institute, which is always bringing us this priceless information.
    Teen pregnancy & abortion rates ALWAYS seem to go up where access to birth control information and services is restricted.
    In Bolivia, where I live, birth control is more inaccessible than in the U.S. or in other parts of Latin America–and abortion rates here are 6 in 10 women, rather than 1 in 3, as in the U.S.

  2. Leah says:

    Have you seen Lifetime’s The Pregnancy Pact yet? I wrote about how it handled the subject of abortion (poorly) on my blog. Check it out!

  3. ThankGoddess says:

    You really have to be careful with correlation here. There’s no evidence as to the cause of the increase (which is not great tbh).

    Further, when will we stop supporting the patriarchy’s false view that somehow teen pregnancy is wrong? That’s demeaning to the self direction of young women. Is it at all possible for us to conclude that these young women are choosing their own path?

    • Jill says:

      Further, when will we stop supporting the patriarchy’s false view that somehow teen pregnancy is wrong? That’s demeaning to the self direction of young women. Is it at all possible for us to conclude that these young women are choosing their own path?

      Seriously?

      I mean, yes, I’m sure there are some young women who wanted to get pregnant and have children (…or abortions…?) as teenagers. I don’t think teen pregnancy is “wrong.” Many teens, once they are pregnant, choose to continue the pregnancy. But that doesn’t mean that most teens are “choosing their own path.” Most teenage pregnancies are unintended. Most teenage girls (again, there are exceptions) don’t want to get pregnant. Many of the ones who do want to get pregnant want to precisely because their choices are limited. Girls aren’t choosing their own path if they don’t have the resources to actually make informed choices. They aren’t choosing their own path if it looks like only one path is available to them.

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