A recent report by the Guttmacher Institute shows that pregnancy, birth and abortion rates of U.S. teenage women (ages 15-19) have declined significantly in the past two decades. U.S. teen pregnancy rates reach historic lows, available at http://www.guttmacher.org/media/nr/2014/05/05/index.html (viewed 9 May 2014).
The greatest, sharpest most profound drops have been in teen pregnancies and abortions. Teen pregnancy rates fell in half, from nearly 117 per 1,000 U.S. women ages 15-19 in 1990 to under 58 per 1000 in 2010. Still, nearly six percent (6%) of all U.S. teen women ages 15-19 became pregnant in 2010 (numbering roughly 625,000 teen women that year).
Likewise, the abortion rate has fallen dramatically — by nearly two-thirds — from 43.5 per 1,000 teen women in 1988 to less than 15 per 1000 teen women in 2010. There are wide variations among racial and ethnic groups. The states with the lowest teen abortion rates were South Dakota, Utah, Kansas, Nebraska, Kentucky, and North Dakota (all 4-6%). On the other hand, more than half of teenage pregnancies in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut ended in abortion.
The full report Kathrun Kost & Stanley Henshaw, U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions, 2010: National and State Trends by Age, Race and Ethnicity (Guttmacher Insti. May 2014) is available at http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/USTPtrends10.pdf (viewed 9 May 2014).
While Guttmacher is quick to claim the increased availability of birth control pills and devices is behind the trends, it is not unlikely that the spread and acceptance of pro-life values also has influenced these trends. Perhaps the rising generation is manifesting more responsible behaviors than earlier generations due in part to growing understanding of the facts of pre-natal human life and death (abortion). The pro-life community deserves great credit for promoting high ethical values and responsible pro-life behaviors.
Lynn D. Wardle
9 May 2014