Teen Abortion, Pregnancy and Birth Rates Increased in 2006 New Report Says

National   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jan 26, 2010   |   9:00AM   |   WASHINGTON, DC

Teen Abortion, Pregnancy and Birth Rates Increased in 2006 New Report Says

by Steven Ertelt
LifeNews.com Editor
January 26
, 2010

Washington, DC (LifeNews.com) — Despite billions of dollars spent by national and state governments and groups like Planned Parenthood on promoting birth control and contraception, a new report issued by the Guttmacher Institute indicates teen abortion, pregnancy and birth rates all rose in 2006.

The Guttmacher Institute, a pro-abortion group formerly affiliated with Planned Parenthood, says the rates all rose for the first time in more than a decade.

Its new report, which LifeNews.com obtained today, shows the nation’s teen pregnancy rate rose 3% in 2006 while the teen birth rate rose 4 percent and the teen abortion rate was up 1 percent.

There is some speculation that the teen birth rate is up because of a decline in teen abortions and the fact that teen births rose at a higher rate than teen abortions provides some evidence of that possibility.

The overall teen pregnancy rate saw steep declines in the 1990s as abstinence education programs became popular and a subsequent plateau in the early 2000s as the morning after pill received national attention.

The teen pregnancy rate declined 41% between its peak, in 1990 (116.9 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15–19), and 2005 (69.5 per 1,000), Guttmacher noted.

Teen birth and abortion rates also declined, with births dropping 35% between 1991 and 2005 and teen abortion declining 56% between its peak, in 1988, and 2005.

But all three trends reversed in 2006, Guttmacher reports, as there were 71.5 pregnancies per 1,000 women aged 15–19. Put another way, about 7% of teen girls became pregnant in 2006.

Just as the long-term declines in teen pregnancy occurred among all racial and ethnic groups through 2005, the reversal in 2006 also involved all demographic groups.

State-level data are not yet available for 2006, but varied widely in 2005. The highest pregnancy rates were in New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Mississippi, and the lowest rates were in New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, Minnesota and North Dakota. Teen pregnancy rates declined in every state between 1988 and 2000, and in every state except North Dakota between 2000 and 2005.

“It is too soon to tell whether the increase in the teen pregnancy rate between 2005 and 2006 is a short term fluctuation, a more lasting stabilization or the beginning of a significant new trend,’ Guttmacher official Lawrence Finer said.

Guttmacher, which opposes pro-life efforts to limit or stop abortions and opposes abstinence education, blamed abstinence programs for the rise.

But Valerie Huber of the National Abstinence Education Association said that doesn’t make sense because just one-quarter of all federal funding goes to abstinence programs while most goes to promote contraception and birth control.

"To me, it appears to be another opportunity to throw a barb at abstinence education," she told USA Today.

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