Teenagers and Pregnancy
NOW last reported on the very controversial topic of teens and sex in an interview with sex education advocate Shelby Knox. Ms. Knox herself embodies some conflict Americans feel over the issue. She has taken a vow of chastity before marriage but also fought her school district's "abstinence only" sex education policy.
Although the rate of teenage pregnancy in the United States has been declining, it remains by far the highest in the developed world. American high school girls were 33% less likely to get pregnant in 2001 than in 1991. According to John Santelli of Columbia University as reported by THE ECONOMIST, the decline appears to be due to in part to more competent use of contraceptives and in part to teens having less sex.
|Birth and Abortion Rates: Women Below 20|
Expressed per 1,000 women ages 15 to 19 (1996)
||Births per 1,000
||Abortions per 1,000
||Births per 1,000 (1970)
(Source: UNICEF, "Teenage Births in Rich Nations," Read the full report.)
More information: The Alan Guttmacher Institute; KQED's Youth Media Corps: Teen Pregnancy Links