NEWS IN CONTEXT
National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
May 3, 2006
May 3 is the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, when teens around the country are asked to stop, think and take action to prevent unintended pregnancy. Although the rate of teen pregnancy in the United States dropped by more than 25% during the 1990s, more than 800,000 U.S. teens still become pregnant each year, and eight in 10 of these pregnancies are unintended.
The good news is that many teens are waiting longer to have sex and using contraceptives more consistently and more effectively. Yet a recent study by the Guttmacher Institute shows that many states are failing to support young people in these healthy choices, by failing to provide teens with adequate contraceptive information and services.
For example, many states promote abstinence-only education programs that portray contraceptives as ineffective. And about half of the states have cut back on public funding for contraceptive services—services many teens rely on for affordable, confidential access to birth control and related preventive health services. If the declines in teen pregnancy seen over the past decade are to continue, state and federal policymakers will have to do more to ensure that young people have the information and services they need to make healthy decisions and protect themselves from unwanted pregnancies.
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