Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Teen Pregnancy Prevention


U.S. Has Highest Rate of Teen Pregnancies Among the Most Developed Nations

In recognition of the eighth annual National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (PPMNS) today called for a renewed commitment to comprehensive, medically accurate sex education programs to reduce the alarming rate of unintended teen pregnancies in this country.

“Teens deserve honest, accurate, age-appropriate information about how to protect themselves,” said PPMNS President and CEO Sarah Stoesz. “They need sex education that provides information about healthy communication, responsible decision making, as well as abstinence and contraception as ways to prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.”

The U.S. teen birthrate increased for the second year in a row, according to data released in March by the National Center for Health Statistics. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy reports the U.S. has the highest rates of teen pregnancy among comparable countries. An estimated 750,000 American teens become pregnant each year.

As a trusted health care provider and educator, Planned Parenthood knows firsthand the power of education to help teens make responsible decisions about their health.

Providing teens and young people with the information they need to make responsible decisions is the commonsense solution to reducing unintended teen pregnancy. Numerous studies have analyzed abstinence-only programs and found them to be ineffective.

A study conducted by the University of Washington found that teens who had comprehensive sex education were 50 percent less likely to become pregnant than teens who had no sex education or who were in abstinence-only programs. A study by The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy reports that two-thirds of the examined sex education programs that focus on both abstinence and contraception had a positive effect on teen sexual behavior. And a 2008 Guttmacher Institute report found that most abstinence programs did not delay initiation of sexual activity.

President Barack Obama has consistently supported comprehensive and age-appropriate sex education. As a senator, President Obama was an original co-sponsor of the Prevention First Act, which would ensure that all taxpayer-funded federal programs are medically accurate and include information about contraception.

No comments: