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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

“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
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

Rachel Lowry
is a reporter intern for the Deseret News.