Black and Hispanic Teen Pregnancy Rates Down

What accounts for the decline in birth rates among teenage blacks and Hispanics?

According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, these groups have better access to birth control and more “convenient” methods, and, incredibly, they’re having less sex. From the Washington Post:

“There has been a change in social norms that has happened in the past 20 years, and the idea of not having sex or delaying sex is now something that can be okay,” said Bill Albert, chief program officer for the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

Veronica Gomez-Lobo, director of pediatric gynecology at Children’s National Medical Center, said the trend of abstinence has been mostly among younger teens rather than older ones. While there’s not good data on why this is happening, she thinks of it as a “contagion” factor: So many teens are waiting to have sex, she suggests, that the peer pressure goes opposite to the way that it might have in the past.

“We think this is a very healthy trend,” Gomez-Lobo said.

What role, if any, does abortion play in the decline?

It’s impossible to talk about unwanted teen pregnancies without the subject of abortion coming up. While the new CDC report did not address this issue, research by the Guttmacher Institute shows that the decline in births is likely to be unrelated to more terminated pregnancies.

Sources have reported that abortion rates in the U.S. have declined. One worried abortion clinic employee said, “We are a dying breed.” Better than unborn babies dying.

Featured image credit: Elvert Barnes (Creative Commons) – Some rights reserved

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