World Population Awareness

Teen Pregnancy

December 07, 2014

150 years ago, when lifespans were shorter, it was important to the survival of humanity for young women to bear children at an early age. Today, with longer lives due to modern medicine and sanitation, more infants are surviving childhood, and adults are living longer lives.

Child-bearing is taxing on a young woman's immature body, often resulting in a very unpleasant condition called fistula, death of the fetus, and sometimes the death of the mother. Young women who bear children early are often robbed of an education, their ability to be gainfully employed, and they often become dependent on men who not necessarily good husbands or good fathers, or they live as single mothers with their children in a hand-to-mouth existence.

In some countries, single women or women without a solid marriage end up sending their children into the streets. Egypt, for example, has 9% of its population comprised of street children.

Young women who start having children early are more likely to have more children than their sisters who did not start early, who more likely got an education, started a career, and waited until later to get married.

In addition, when teens have children, then more generations are alive at the same time, meaning economic hardship for the families involved, and meaning a larger population of people. If older people insist on prolonging their lives, then younger people must delay parenthood.

Unfortunately, young women's bodies are maturing earlier these days, partly due exposure to certain plastics, but also nature has not caught up with today's lifestyles and today's teen body is still prepared for life 150 years ago. Add this to the sex sold on TV, and it is no wonder that young women are tempted to experience sexual intercourse.

In conclusion, if a region is experiencing a net population growth rate (even 1% doubles in 70 years), or if it is already exceeding carrying capacity, it is important for sex education, family planning, and self-esteem programs to be concentrated on young women in their teen years.   September 2010, Karen Gaia - WOA!! doclink

United States

Reducing Teen Pregnancy is Important for Many Reasons:

2000, Population Connection

  • The teen pregnancy rate in the U.S. is twice that of any other industrialized nation.
  • Teens are often less able to care for their children.
  • Pregancy for teens is more dangerous and traumatic.
  • Many teen pregancies end in abortions.
  • Teen birth adds directly to population growth by reducing the time between generations.
  • Most importantly, almost all teen pregancies are unintended.
  • doclink

    Teen Pregnancy—and Expanded Access to LARC Methods Could Accelerate This Trend

    October 01, 2014, Guttmacher Institute

    Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommended that pediatricians consider long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) methods -- namely, hormonal and copper intrauterine devices (IUDs) and hormonal implants -- as "first-line contraceptive choices for adolescents."

    In the United States, 614,000 teens became pregnant in 2010, and 82% reported that their pregnancy was unintended. The overall U.S. teen pregnancy rate has declined steadily -- in all 50 states and among all racial and ethnic groups -- since its peak in 1990. Between 2008 and 2010, the rate dropped by 15%, likely due, in part, to the increased use of LARC methods.

    Contraception accounted for 86% of the decline in teen pregnancies between 1995 and 2002, while abstinence accounted for 14%, according to a Guttmacher analysis. Between 2003 and 2010, the proportion of teens who had ever had sex did not change, indicating that abstinence did not play a role in the teen pregnancy declines during that time. While still small, the proportion of teens using LARC methods is growing: Among women aged 15-19, LARC use increased substantially between 2002 and 2009, from less than 1% to 4.5% -- and may have increased even more since that time.

    LARC methods may appeal to teens who do not want to worry about remembering to take birth control pills at the same time every day. LARC methods require little maintenance and can provide long-term protection during the years when many young women are at highest risk for unintended pregnancy. A new study released in the New England Journal of Medicine documents the potential for LARC methods to significantly decrease pregnancy and abortion rates among teens.

    Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, more women -- including teens -- now have private or public insurance coverage that funds contraception without out-of-pocket costs, which can otherwise be a critical barrier to use. It is important to be vigilant that such efforts fully respect adolescents' informed consent, given the historical context of coercive practices related to contraception, especially those targeting disadvantaged groups. The new recommendations emphasize educating teens about all contraceptive methods that are safe and appropriate for them, so they can choose freely from among the range of contraceptive options, including highly effective LARC methods. doclink

    16 and Pregnant: Bedsider Birth Control Campaign

    The cast opens up about using birth control
    July 22, 2014, MTV

    doclink

    Virginity Pledges Don't Work — Unless You're Super Religious

    Surprise! Morality-based abstinence education only works for people with those beliefs (and it harms everyone else)
    July 16, 2014, Salon   By: Jenny Kutner

    A study published in the Journal of Child and Family Studies found that virginity pledges don't work, unless signers are truly and deeply religious, virginity pledges don't work, and even if signers are deeply religious, abstinence pledges are likely to delay sexual activity a few years -- but usually not until marriage.

    The study also found virginity pledges pose serious risks to young adults who go back on their word.

    The study of 1,380 college students aged 18-24 asked participants whether they had previously signed a virginity pledge, their virginity status and how many past or present intercourse and oral sex partners they had, and also how religion or spirituality influence their daily lives, how often they seek spiritual comfort and how frequently they participate in religious events.

    About 25% of respondents had previously made a virginity agreement; however 65% of signers were no longer virgins and 77% had engaged in oral sex at the time of the study.

    Unfortunately most abstinence pledges take the place of comprehensive, medically accurate sex education; consequently young people who decide not to remain abstinent often do so with little to no knowledge of healthy sexuality. The study reports that sexually active signers tended to have oral sex with a greater number of partners (likely in an effort to "preserve their virginity"), putting them at risk for various diseases and complications. Abstinence-only sex ed does not teach students what they all need to know.

    The study concludes that state and federal dollars are still funding inadequate, evangelical sex education and that we should reconsider the policy implications of this dangerous entanglement, as their efficacy findings make it "questionable" whether the government should be funneling money into something so overwhelmingly ineffective. doclink

    8 Most Absurd Lessons Americans Teach Kids About Sex

    Your hard-earned tax dollars are teaching kids that vaginas are like chewed-up gum and men are sexual microwaves
    April 21 , 2014, Salon   By: Anna Pulley

    Even though 95% of Americans have premarital sex, abstinence-only education continues to be taught in classrooms across the U.S. Abstinence programs have received $1.75 billion in federal funds since the creation of the Title V abstinence-only-until-marriage program in 1996, and that's not including the Adolescent Family Life Act, created in 1981. Abstaince-only programs use your hard-earned tax dollars to teach America's youth that sex is dirty, disgusting, shameful, and worthless, at least according to the following abstinence messages.

    1. Sexually active girls are like used chocolate: Girls were taught the evils of sex by passing a Peppermint Pattie around among the students to prove how filthy sexually active girls can become. "They're using the Peppermint Pattie to show that a girl is no longer clean or valuable after she's had sex—that she's been used," Marie Barnard, a parent and public health worker, said.

    2. Sex is like backwash: students spit into a cup, trade cups with someone else, and then drink from that cup. Because that is what you are doing by slutting it up, becoming used and "unclean!""

    3. Kissing gives you AIDS. Demonstrating the ineffectiveness of condoms by dropping Skittles through a tennis racket.

    4. Sex is like duct tape. Ripping the tape of a young man's hairy arm is used to help the students better understand the painful emotional consequences of broken sexual relationships.

    Click on the link in the headline to read the rest of the article. doclink

    80 Percent of Young Teens Have No Sexual Education Before Having Sex

    These findings point to the fact that although significant progress has been made in reducing teen pregnancy, further targeted measures are necessary in order to delay sexual intercourse an
    April 08 , 2014, Daily Beast

    May being Teen Pregnancy Prevention Month, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report on teen pregnancy. Although it showed that for U.S. teens aged 15-17, pregnancy rates have declined 63% from 1991 to 2012, more than 80% of those teens who had tried sex had had no formal sex education and 25% of them had never spoken with a parent about sex. A 63% decline still represents nearly 1,700 births a week, with highest rates for Hispanic, non-Hispanic black, and American Indian / Alaska Native adolescents. This indicates that schools and parents could do more to prepare for the risks teens face when they consider having sex.

    90% of 15-17 year old teens who had sex reported using contraception, but most of those who used contraception relied on methods that Planned Parenthood considers least effective (e.g., spermicides and fertility-awareness methods). And adolescents who give birth are more likely to have another child at a young age and are less likely than older teen mothers to finish high school or obtain their GED. Shanna Cox, from CDC's Division of Reproductive Health says, "Trying to balance the task of childbearing while trying to complete their high school education is a difficult set of circumstances, even with the help of family and others. We need to provide young people with the support and opportunities they need to empower themselves." doclink

    Art says: see www.dosomething.org/actnow/tipsandtools/facts-about-sex-education-us-0 ...

    • More than 90% of parents of junior high and high school students believe that it is somewhat or very important for sex education to be included in the curriculum.

    • As of January 1, 2014: 22 states and the District of Columbia require public schools teach sex education (20 of which mandate sex education and HIV education). 19 of these states require that sex education must be medically, factually or technically accurate. State definitions of "medically accurate" vary, from requiring that the department of health review curriculum for accuracy, to mandating that curriculum be based on information from “published authorities upon which medical professionals rely."

    • Teens who receive a comprehensive education about sex are 50% less likely to have an unintended pregnancy than those who receive sex educations that are abstinence-only or contraception-only programs.

    • Virginity pledges are promises to abstain from sexual intercourse until marriage and have become popular courses of action for sex education programs across America. Unfortunately, studies show that pledgers are just as likely as non-pledgers to have STDs and less likely to use contraception if they do become sexually active.

    • 37 states and the District of Columbia require school districts to allow parental involvement in sexual education programs.

    • 35 states and the District of Columbia allow parents to opt-out on behalf of their children, and three states require prior parental consent.

    These Maps Show Where Kids in America Get Terrifying Sex Ed

    August 08 , 2014, Huffington Post   By: Rebecca Klein

    Teachers can provide sex education courses that are biased against specific races or ethnicities, that are inappropriate for students' ages and that promote specific religious agendas, according to a recent Guttmacher Institute analysis. Also, 37 states reportedly allow for medically inaccurate sex education, and only 18 states require teachers to provide information about contraception.

    Given these figures, it is hardly surprising that the United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate of any other developed country.

    For 4 other maps, click on the link in the headline to see them. doclink

    Karen Gaia says: I think the headline is misleading. I would have worded it: "These Maps Show Where Kids in America Might Get Terrifying Sex Ed". For example, "According to Sex Education in California Public Schools ... (PDF) (survey conducted PB Consulting, 2003), 96 percent of California school districts provide comprehensive sexual health education."

    Plan B OK'd Over Counter for 15 and Older

    May 01, 2013, Boston Globe   By: Deborah Kotz

    The Food and Drug Administration said that it would allow Plan B One-Step emergency contraception to be offered on drugstore shelves next to other family planning products such as condoms and pregnancy tests. -- but only to those age 15 and over.

    Consumers will be required to show proof of age at the register. Many of those under age 17 may not have a photo ID if they do not yet have a driver's license.

    Emergency contraception contains high doses of the female hormone progestin and needs to be taken within three days of unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy; it's currently available without a prescription to those age 17 and over but is kept behind a pharmacy counter and dispensed only when the pharmacy is open.

    The FDA said that women age 15 and older "understood that the product was not for routine use and would not protect them against sexually transmitted diseases" and could be used safely without a doctor's supervision. doclink

    Karen Gaia says: the latest news is that President Obama is planning to appeal this decision.

    Worldwide

    Demystifying Data: a Guide to Using Evidence to Improve Young People's Sexual Health and Rights

    May 15, 2013, Guttmacher Institute

    The Guttmacher Institute and the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) have launched a new publication which makes accessible a wealth of data on adolescent sexual health and rights in 30 countries, and to provide guidance on how to apply the data to advocacy, education and service provision efforts. The guide is designed to be a resource for youth advocates, sexuality educators and service providers as well as others working to advance the sexual and reproductive health and rights of young people around the world.

    The three core chapters of the guide highlight 70 key indicators on issues such as sexual activity and marriage; contraceptive knowledge, use and need; childbearing; sexuality education in schools; adolescents‚ ability to advocate for and ensure their own sexual health; and societal norms and gender equality. The guide also presents information on the best ways to reach young people by providing information about their level of school attendance and exposure to different forms of media. Each indicator is defined and discussed in terms of how it can be employed in advocacy, service provision and sexuality education contexts.

    The data comes from Demographic and Health Surveys for 30 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and in Europe: Albania, Moldova and Ukraine.

    Visit the Guttmacher Web site to download the guide and the accompanying resources. doclink

    Teens in the Tinderbox

    April 18, 2012, Huffington Post

    By Suzanne Ehlers, President, Population Action International

    Next week, the 45th session of the Commission on Population and Development (CPD) will be held at the United Nations in New York. The Commission's work is to "monitor, review and assess the implementation of the ICPD Programme of Action at the national, regional and international levels."

    The 2012 CPD outcome document will serve as a foundation for major upcoming international negotiations on sustainable development and population and this year's theme is "Adolescents and Youth."

    The number of adolescents and young people in the world today is at an all-time high. Along with food, water and safe shelter, this huge share of the world's population needs access to contraception and a range of sexual and reproductive health services.

    Many at the CPD will deny that young people are sexually active. They equate access to comprehensive sexuality education with a rise in sexual activity, when sex ed actually delays sexual initiation.

    These deniers also conflate the basic tenets of good health care -- such as privacy, confidentiality, and informed consent -- with undermining cultural, religious and familial values. But young people are sophisticated enough to explore and define their values, and make informed decisions that help safeguard their well-being.

    The lives of young people around the world literally depend on the success of our efforts at CPD 2012. We will seek to advance a visionary agenda for the full realization of young people's sexual and reproductive health and rights. doclink

    U.K.: More Teens at Risk

    September 26, 2011, The Scotsman

    In the UK a new study has shown that 43% of sexually active 16 to 19-year-olds admitted to not using contraception when having sex with a new partner, compared to 36% in 2009.

    Of the teenagers who admitted having had unprotected sex with a new partner, 23% said they had done so because their partner did not like using contraception and 15% said they had been drunk and forgotten.

    The proportion of girls who said they had a close friend or family member who had an unplanned pregnancy rose from 36% in 2009 to 55% this year.

    Only 55%of girls said they considered themselves to be very well-informed about all the contraceptive options available compared to 62% of boys, according to the study.

    16% of boys and girls said they believed the "withdrawal method" was an effective form of contraception.

    19% of girls and 16% of boys said they did not receive any kind of sex education at school, and about the same number said they did not trust teachers to provide accurate and unbiased information.

    The study involved 200 British young people as part of a 29 country study. About 61% of these 200 said they were sexually active.

    Jennifer Woodside, of the International Planned Parenthood Federation, said: "What the results show is that too many young people either lack good knowledge about sexual health, do not feel empowered enough to ask for contraception or have not learned the skills to negotiate contraceptive use with their partners to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies or sexually transmitted infections."

    Parent Network Scotland said it was important for parents to have an open relationship with their teenagers in order to tackle issues such as "safe sex".

    Director Jackie Tolland said: "Contraception should be part of a wider talk about sex as there is both the STI aspect and the pregnancy one. Emotions and relationships should also be discussed." doclink

    World Contraception Day Survey Shows Unprotected Sex Becoming Alarmingly Common in Youngsters

    September 27, 2011, MedIndia

    A survey to mark World Contraception Day shows the number of young people having unprotected sex in the West has risen sharply over the past two years.

    There were particularly sharp increases among sexually active teenagers in the United States and in European countries such as France who were failing to use contraception with a new partner.

    In the United States, the percentage rose from 38% in 2009 to 53%; France increased from 19% to 40%.

    62% of young people in Thailand have had unprotected sex with a new partner, and the number was over 50% in countries as diverse as China, South Korea, Norway and Estonia.

    In Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, Latin America and the United States, the most common reason for not using contraception is a lack of preparedness for sexual activity. Up to a third of young people in those regions said they did not have any form of contraception available when at the time of intercourse.

    Jennifer Woodside of the International Planned Parenthood Federation said: "What the results show is that too many young people either lack good knowledge about sexual health, do not feel empowered enough to ask for contraception or have not learned the skills to negotiate contraceptive use with their partners to protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies or STIs. doclink

    Canada: Who Are Teens' Sexual Role Models? Turns Out, It's Their Parents

    July 19, 2011, Time

    45% of teens consider their parents - not their friends or celebrities - their sexual role models, a study from the University of Montreal shows.

    Conventional wisdom tells us that teens put no stock in what their parents think. 32% relied on guidance from their friends, and 15% cared what celebrities thought. The rest relied on their parents' guidance.

    The study's findings showed that parents need to stay involved in their kids' lives even if it seems like their teens would prefer they get lost. doclink

    U.S.: Colorado's Poorest Counties Have High Teen Pregnancy Rates

    April 11, 2011, The Denver Post

    The Colorado Children's Campaign has found that there is a wide and growing gulf between the state's affluent and its poor when it comes to how they choose to create and maintain families.

    The poorest counties have the highest rates of teen pregnancy, while, in affluent counties, new moms are more likely to be in their 30s.

    Many close to the issue are convinced that teenage pregnancy is less a matter of morals or sex education or access to birth control than it is a matter of a girl or boy feeling that they have a future. Or not. Girls with prospects do not have babies. Teen pregnancy is well established as a cause of poverty, but it may also be a result of poverty.

    Lisa Piscopo, a Colorado Children's Campaign researcher, said "I believe girls choose to have babies when they don't have a vision of any other options."

    The answer is neither handing out condoms nor preaching abstinence, but to offer more of a vision for other options. Debbie Channel made a grant-funded attempt to curtail teen pregnancies by convincing young girls that there was a big world out there and they could claim a place in it.

    In Huerfano County the average annual income just over half the statewide average and an unemployment rate that rose to over 10% last year. It has the state's highest rate of births to girls ages 15 through 17, and 54% of babies born in Huerfano County were to unmarried women.

    Nationwide five of the wealthiest states had the lowest teen pregnancy rates. But Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, Tennessee, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and Nevada had the highest teen birth rates. All but Arizona and Nevada are among the poorest states.

    In 2009, a University of Chicago study reported that by age 17, one-third of young women in foster care reported having been pregnant, and by age 19 the number was nearly half. As many as one third of girls interviewed for the study said they wanted to become pregnant, perhaps "to create the family they don't have or fill an emotional void." doclink

    Sierra Leone: Facing Facts of Teenage Pregnancy

    April 03, 2011, InterPress Service

    Teenage pregnancies account for 40% of maternal deaths in Sierra Leone, where early marriage is supported by traditional practice. 70% of teenage girls in Sierra Leone are married, according to a 2008 survey by the World Health Organization.

    A United Nations Children's Fund's (UNICEF) report, "A Glimpse Into the World of Teenage Pregnancy in Sierra Leone", states that "such importance is given to girls marrying as virgins that the age of marriage often coincides with the first occurrence of female menstruation".

    The typical consequences of teen pregnancy are social stigma, unstable marriages, poverty, end of a girl's education, extreme poverty, and prostitution.

    Sierra Leone's mortality rate is extremely high, calculated as 970 deaths per 100,000 live births, with the risks of childbirth by young women an important contributing factor.

    Babies born to teenage mothers have 50% more neonatal deaths and frequent low birth weights.

    Few teens have ante-natal checkups, instead trying to hide their pregnancy or try to abort. This makes early detection of potential problems in a high-risk group very difficult.

    Dr Helenlouise Taylor, in a World Health Organization draft report, says measures to reduce coerced sex and unsafe abortion and increase access to contraception for adolescents are all important, and urges a review of life skills and biology in the school curriculum, as well as tighter links between schools and antenatal clinics - possibly even offering antenatal care at schools. She also calls for appropriate training for health personnel and teachers to help both groups communicate accurate and effective information on sex and birth control to teens. doclink

    South Africa: Pregnancy Tsunami

    February 23, 2011, The Times (South Africa)

    Almost 5000 schoolgirls in the Gauteng province became pregnant in only one year. Even more shocking is that more than 113 primary school girls became pregnant in the same period.

    Health Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said teenage pregnancy statistics were of greater concern than those for HIV. "What this proves is that our children are having unprotected sex, which makes them more vulnerable." ... "Young girls are having sex with older men ... old men are targeting young women, whom we must protect."

    Health MEC Ntombi Mekgwe said "Future generations will curse us and spit on our graves if we do not address this problem head-on." She was said "Bodies of young girls are not only unprepared for pregnancy and child birth, they are also not prepared for sexual intercourse.

    A Sowetan teenager who has seen many of her friends become young mothers said: "It's fashionable to have a baby. You are like an idiot if you don't have sex".

    Peer pressure, dysfunctional family units, and alcohol and drug abuse were some of the main contributing factors to the unprecedented increase in teen pregnancies, said Mekgwe. doclink

    Young Adults

    Young Adulthood is a Period of High Risk for Unintended Pregnancy and Birth

    April 24, 2012, Guttmacher Institute

    The Guttmacher Institute has produced a report which says that, in 2008, more than two-thirds of pregnancies among unmarried women aged 20-29 were unintended, while only half of pregnancies among all women of reproductive age were unintended. In 2008, nearly 10% of unmarried women aged 20-29 experienced an unintended pregnancy.

    Guttmacher policy expert Adam Sonfield said "Expanding insurance coverage and public funding for the most effective methods of contraception -- and for the counseling and education needed to help women and couples choose the method that is best for them -- can go a long way toward reducing unintended pregnancies and births in this high-risk age group."

    In 2008, black and Hispanic women had rates of unintended pregnancy twice those of their white counterparts, while rates among poor women were more than four times the rate for women in the highest income group. In the same year, 54% of births among unmarried 20-29-year-olds resulted from an unintended pregnancy, compared with 31% among their married counterparts. And black and Hispanic women had unintended birthrates more than twice that of white women, while poor women had an unintended birthrate more than seven times that of women in the highest income group.

    Since young women typically have sex for the first time around age 17, but generally don't marry until their mid-20s, co-author Laura Lindberg said "We can't just focus on reducing teen pregnancies anymore. We need to expand our focus to include helping young adult women and their partners reduce their risk through improved contraceptive use."

    Click on the link in the headline for more. doclink

    International Year of Youth Started August 12th

    August 16, 2011, Population Reference Bureau

    To harness the energy, imagination, and initiative of the world's youth to help overcome global challenges, the UN proclaimed an International Year of Youth that started on Aug. 12, 2010. To commemorate the close of the Year of Youth and International Youth Day, PRB has published content that highlights the reproductive health challenges facing youth:

    Are the 58 Million Girls Who Married Early Overlooked by Policies and Programs? http://www.prb.org/Articles/2011/married-adolescents.aspx International * Discuss Online, Aug. 18:"Mobilizing Youth in the Development Process" http://discuss.prb.org/content/interview/detail/6528/

    * Involving Youth in Development Programming: Interview With Cate Lane, USAID - webcast http://www.prb.org/Journalists/Webcasts/2011/youth-development-programming.aspx

    * Commemorating International Youth Day: Reproductive Health of Youth in Sub-Saharan Africa - Power Point Presentation - http://www.prb.org/Reports/2011/youth-reproductive-health-africa-ppt.aspx

    * PPT:Reproductive Health of Youth in Sub-Saharan Africa - http://www.prb.org/Reports/2011/youth-reproductive-health-africa-ppt.aspx

    * Graphics Bank:New PowerPoint Slides on Youth - Graphics Bank: Children and Youth - http://www.prb.org/Publications/GraphicsBank/Youth.aspx -- These files are part of a collection of PowerPoint graphics for speakers, trainers, and others presenting information on population and health topics. For more information, please see the Graphics Bank home page.

    * Report:Facts of Life: Youth Sexuality & Reproductive Health in the Middle East - http://www.prb.org/Reports/2011/facts-of-life.aspx - (June 2011) One in five people living in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, or nearly 90 million in 2010, is between the ages of 15 and 24, a demographic group called "youth." No longer children, but not yet independent adults, these young people are at a crucial juncture in their lives. The vast majority are physically ready to initiate sexual activity, making it critical to reach them with accurate information and accessible services to protect their sexual and reproductive health. All too often, however, young people's sexual and reproductive health is excluded from countries' health and development agendas, particularly in the MENA region. doclink

    37 Percent of U.S. Births Out of Wedlock

    November 22, 2006, Associated Press

    Out-of-wedlock births in the US accounted for nearly 4 in 10 babies born last year. The birth rate among girls 10 to 17 dropped last year to the lowest level on record. Births among unwed mothers rose among women in their 20s which reflects the number of people who are putting off marriage or living together without getting married. It also reflects that having a child out of wedlock is more acceptable nowadays. The increase was seen in all racial groups, but most sharply among Hispanics. It was up among all age groups except 10 to 17. The government also reported that Caesarean delivery continued to climb to a record high, despite efforts to bring down the number. Experts believe a large number of C-sections are medically unnecessary. About 4.1 million babies were born in the US last year, up slightly from 2004. More than 1.5 million were to unmarried women; about 37%. In 2004, about 36% were out of wedlock. More women in their 30s and 40s are choosing to give birth despite their single status. Younger women are not as worried about being unmarried. About 20% of all new mothers under 20 were unmarried but living with the father. The same was true of about 13% of those ages 20 to 24. The median age at first marriage was 27 for men and 25 for women. The number of unmarried-couple households with children was 1.7 million last year, up from under 200,000 in 1970. The birth rate among teenagers declined 2% in 2005. The rate is now about 40 births per 1,000 females 15 to 19, the lowest in the 65 years for which rates is available. The U.S. teen birth rate is still the highest among industrialized countries. Births to women in their early 20s rose to 102 births per 1,000 women 20 to 24. Births to women in their late 20s was about 116 per 1,000 women ages 25 to 29.The C-section rate rose to 30.2% in 2005. doclink

    Youths Support Abstinence as Sex Education

    January 22, 2006, Washington Times

    According to a new Harris Poll, 56% of people 18 to 24, and 60% of those 25 to 29, think abstinence programs reduce or prevent the occurrence of HIV. Another 49% of people 18 to 24 and 52% of those 25 to 29 say the programs reduce or prevent unwanted pregnancies. Younger respondents showed the strongest support for abstinence over safe-sex programs. Adults under 30 are more likely to believe that abstinence programs are effective, and they are the main targets for the programs. Indeed, 43% of 30- to 39-year-olds felt abstinence programs were effective against HIV; the number fell to 41% among those 40 to 49, 37% among those 50 to 64 and 31% for those older than 65. Older people less often agreed that the programs were effective against pregnancy, 30% to 33% among those from 40-plus to over 65. Among Republicans, 50% felt abstinence programs were effective against HIV and 46% felt they countered unwanted pregnancies. Among Democrats, the numbers were 39% and 28%. Among independents, the numbers were 34 and 32. The U.S. Department of Health set aside $31 million two years ago to help 50 communities in 22 states and the District develop abstinence-only education programs. A first-year review revealed that a majority had a change in attitude. Students had become more supportive of abstinence and less supportive of teen sex, with a keen awareness of the consequences for risky behavior. Researchers at Ohio's University School of Medicine had similar findings. doclink

    Youth Infonet 20 - November 2005

    November 2005, Family Health International

    This issue of the electronic newsletter features 15 program resources focusing on youth reproductive health and HIV prevention. It also includes summaries of four peer-reviewed articles featuring research on youth reproductive health and HIV/AIDS from Nepal, Brazil, and Zimbabwe. doclink

    US Indiana: Study Finds Rural Men Often Use Condom Incorrectly

    November 12, 2005, Associated Press

    Men in rural Indiana often use condoms incorrectly due to the shortcomings of sex education in Indiana's public schools. Almost half the men who answered the survey's questions about their latest sexual encounters with women admitted waiting too long to put on a condom or taking it off too soon. Rural men were singled out as part of attempts to track AIDS prevention efforts. The study shows that schools should teach students how to use condoms properly. Many schools don't talk about condoms for pregnancy and STD prevention, and fewer talk about the correct way to use them. Critics worry this could encourage teenagers to have sex instead of waiting until marriage. State law requires schools to emphasize abstinence outside marriage as the only safeguard against pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease but exact lesson plans are up to local school boards. doclink

    Safe Sex Promoted at Cannes by American Filmmaker's Free Condom Handouts

    May 21, 2005, eMediaWire.com

    Producer James Hergott and the cast of his reality film, "All That I Need," have become known as promoters of safe sex with free condom handouts at the Cannes Film Festival. The Company, together with the producer of "All That I Need", have received offers from distributors within Germany and the United Kingdom worth an estimated $350,000 to $700,000, as well as an offer for the North American market, in the form of a pay-per-view deal, worth an estimated $1 million. Roger Ebert has requested a copy of the film to review for the Chicago Sun Times. The distributors feel the film is targeted to 16 to 30 year olds. doclink

    Japan: Light View of Sex Pushes it Earlier

    May 12, 2005, United Press International

    People who think of their first sex as "serious" are likely to have sex for the first time at a later age. A survey conducted by the Japan Family Planning Association questioned 1,580 people last fall and found that 1,329 of them had experienced sex. The average age of their first sexual encounter was 19.3 years. The more people viewed sex seriously, the older they were when they had their first encounter. The average age of respondents' first sexual experience was 20 for those who viewed it as something important. Those who had thought that their first sexual experience was slightly important had sex for the first time at 19.5, while the average age of those who had taken a slightly light view of it was 18.1. On average, people who had viewed their first encounter quite lightly were aged 17.1, 2.2 years younger than the overall average. doclink

    Teen Pregnancy News

    Contraception Reduces Number of Abortions LTE

    August 31, 2003, Buffalo News

    It is unfortunate that individuals may use this column to further their religious and personal views by promoting incorrect medical information.

    According to the Food and Drug Administration and the American Medical Association, emergency contraception does not cause abortion under any circumstances. It allows a woman who has been attacked or coerced into sex, or has had contraceptive failure, to prevent pregnancy.

    What people like a previous letter writer don't want to acknowledge is that emergency contraception, and contraception in general, decrease the number of abortions by reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, something we should all want.

    Millions of women around the world have used emergency contraception safely and effectively. The FDA has approved it for short-term dosage for the prevention of pregnancy. No drug is completely without risk, but a review of government reports shows that it is remarkably safe and effective. We need emergency contraception to be readily available over the counter to any woman who wants it.

    Finally, it was stated that emergency contraception is "another ploy to subvert parental authority." I submit that if your child is having sex, and you don't know about it, your parental authority is already lacking.

    JAMES HUFNAGEL Wilson doclink

    US New Mexico: Health Workers Ask State to Reject Federal Funding for Abstinence

    January 13, 2005, Associated Press

    Public Health workers are pleading with State Health Secretary-designate Michelle Lujan Grisham to not incorporate abstinance programs with incorrect information regarding condoms and the prevention of pregnancy and the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases. The Congress will give $170 million this year for "abstinence-only" programs that promote abstinence until marriage. Grisham stated that the Public Health workers are encouraging her to not accept the $500,000 given to her for the "abstinence-only" program for Albuquerque, New Mexico public schools. A report last month by Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., found 11 of the 13 most widely used programs contain misinformation. He said they underestimate the effectiveness of condoms in preventing pregnancy and the spread of disease, exaggerate the prevalence of emotional and physical distress following abortion, blur science and religion or get fundamental scientific facts wrong." Grisham, however, stated that if she decides to use the program that she will not allow the use of the incorrect information in the public school system. doclink

    U.K.: 100 Percent Increase in Teenage Girls Using Morning-After Pill

    March 27, 2003, Daily Mail

    The use of the morning-after pill has more than doubled since it became available over the counter. One in five 16 year olds takes them each year, some use it repeatedly. The figures suggest the reduction in pregnancy is due to availability of the pill rather than a drop in teenage sex. Teenagers on the pill are not protected against sexually transmitted infections which affect one in 20 girls under 16. Teenage girls are more likely to use the pill than older women. The rise in teenage use supports campaigners who tried to stop chemists selling the pill as its easy availability would increase pressure to have sex while increasing the risk of infection. Girls under 16 need a prescription, which can be obtained without parents' consent from a doctor or a school nurse. But many buy it from a chemist because there are few checks to ensure it is not sold to under-age girls. Fear of sexually-transmitted diseases seems to have little impact on behaviour. doclink

    A Battle Over the Morning-After Pill

    June 02, 2003, Push newsfeed

    Virginia state delegate Robert Marshall learned that the James Madison university had prescribed an emergency contraceptive more than 2,000 times since 1995. This is, in Marshall's view, abortion. Mark Obenshain, a pro-life candidate, introduced a measure to stop the center from providing the pills and it passed by a 7-6 vote. Schnebel, a member of the student government, objected that a group with so much power made a decision that affects the health and safety of the students, "I couldn't imagine why they would take away something that is legal in the U.S." .. "It was the fact that a group that has so much power, our board of visitors, made a decision that directly affects the health and safety of the students, and they didn't ask us, and that's just not fair." The pill acts by delaying ovulation, preventing fertilization or inhibiting implantation. doclink

    US California: Teen Birthrates in California's Central Valley Almost Double State, National Averages

    May 29, 2003, Los Angeles Times

    Agricultural areas in California's Central Valley have higher teenage birthrates, with immigrant parents working long hours and young people having few employment options and limited access to birth control. The Central Valley teen birthrates rival teen birthrates in developing countries such as Namibia, Haiti and Cambodia, State Sen. Dean Florez is working on legislation to change California's per capita-based family planning budget to assure that more money for sex education and pregnancy prevention go to isolated rural areas. In his District, teen birthrate in 2000 was 94.8 births per 1,000 compared with the state rate of 48.5 births per 1,000. doclink

    Most New Mexico Parents Approve of Condom Information, Disapprove of Condom Demonstrations During Sex Ed Classes

    May 15, 2003, Albuquerque Journal

    A survey of New Mexico parents found that 61% approve of teaching adolescents about condoms and contraceptives, 24% disapproved and 14% were neutral. But 73% disapprove of having students learn to unroll a condom, while 15% approved. 44% of parents disapproved of teens being told how to obtain birth control pills without parental permission, while 40% approved. 70% of parents wanted children to be taught that intimacy should occur between people involved in a lifelong, faithful, marriage. A majority of parents want to review sex education materials prior to their use. doclink

    U.S.: Most Parents Unaware That Teens Can Be Treated for STDs, Receive Contraception Without Their Involvement

    March 28, 2003, Reuters

    In 2002 more than 1,000 parents of teenagers between the ages of 13 and 17 in Minnesota and Wisconsin were surveyed by phone. 71% of parents would not object to mandatory parental notification regarding minor health care, including a five-day waiting period for contraception. 68% of parents said that a teenager should have access to confidential care in cases of rape or incest. 34% of parents said that teens ages 16 to 17 should have access to reproductive health care without parental consent. doclink

    US Minnesota: Bill Would Stress Abstinence in Sex Ed

    March 19, 2003, Push newsfeed

    The message that young people shouldn't have sex until marriage would get a boost in schools under a bill that passed the House Education Policy Committee. Proponents say the emphasis is needed because sex education programs give students conflicting messages that may encourage sexual activity. Critics said the bill could cut programs that provide students with information on contraceptives and sexually transmitted diseases. Current law requires school districts to include abstinence information in its curriculum. "Why do we need this bill? It's already in the curriculum," said Rep. Nora Slawik, DFL-Maplewood. doclink