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Abortions and teen pregnancies drop to historic low

Teen pregnancy rates in the U.S. are at a historic low among all racial and ethnic groups, dropping 40 percent during the period studied, according to a new report released by the National Center for Health Statistic (NCHS).

"The impressive declines in teen pregnancy have been both wide and deep," Sarah Brown, director of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, said in a press release. "The rates have gone down in all 50 states and among all racial and ethnic groups. The steady declines in teen pregnancy represent one of the nation's great success stories of the past two decades and the thanks go to teens themselves."

The 40 percent drop in teen pregnancies was between 1990 and 2008, the latest year for this data. Teen pregnancies peaked in 1990 with 117 per 1,000 teen pregnant women in the 15 to 19 age group. In 2008, that number dropped to 70 per 1,000, the report showed. The pregnancy rate for ages 20 to 24 was 163 per 1,000 women, compared to the 198.5 per 1,000 in 2008.

There are several reasons for this change. Birth control methods are becoming more effective, as well as the use of condoms and other methods, said Stephanie Ventura, an author of the report. Also, women in their 20s are "postponing pregnancy."

"These numbers come as little surprise to anyone following the question of when (and if) women have children. Young women in career mode are putting off marriage and children to the point where some are having conversations with their parents about freezing their eggs. More educated women are looking for options to protect their fertility as they invest in their professional futures," KJ Dell'Antonia noted at the New York Times

While pregnancy rates for teens and women in their 20s have dropped, they remain high for women in their 30s and 40s, the Huffington Post reported.

"Women between 40 and 44 had a dramatic increase in pregnancy rates of nearly 65 percent from 1990 to 2008, the report said. There were 18.8 pregnancies per 1,000 women in that age group in 2008, compared with 11.4 per 1,000 in 1990."

"It's not just the teens. Abortion rates are down across the board," said Ventura.

In 2008, 65 percent of the pregnancies reported resulted in live births, which rose from the 61 percent of pregnancies in 1990.

"The remaining third of pregnancies were almost evenly split between abortion and fetal loss, with 1.2 million pregnancies, or about 18 percent, ending intentionally and an additional 1.1 million, or 17 percent, ending in miscarriage or stillbirth," the Washinton Times reported.



Rachel Lowry is a reporter intern for the Deseret News.

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