By Emily Murray
Despite the emergence of shows like “Teen Mom” and hit movies like “Juno” featuring teen pregnancy, a new report shows that it’s actually becoming less common for girls ages 15 to 19 to become pregnant. Not only that, but more girls within this age group are choosing abstinence than ever before.
For once a report on teen sexuality that will have parents letting out a big sigh of relief.
Of course, the number of teens who are abstaining from sex is not staggeringly high – but it is an overall improvement from a similar survey that was conducted by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) in 1995.
Between 2006 and 2010, 57% of girls 15-19 reported that they had never had sex which is significantly higher than the 49% findings of the survey in 1995. Additionally, teen girls who are choosing to be sexually active are now relying on more effective forms of birth control than they had in the past. These include the patch, ring, contraceptive shot, the pill and intrauterine device. In the latest survey, 60% claim they rely on at least one of these methods which contrasts the 47% who reported the same in 1995.
The topic of teaching teens sexual education and proper health practices is one that has been fiercely debated for decades and, chances are, that debate will continue on in the years to come. When looking at this new study however and the fact that teen pregnancy is on the decline, it’s likely that this early stage counseling and education are helping to make their decision safer, even if parents don’t agree. It follows the logic that if teens are going to be having sex (for right or for wrong) having the knowledge of how to protect themselves from pregnancy as well as sexually transmitted diseases and infections can protect their futures and in some cases even save their lives.
With the recent debate over allowing teens access to emergency contraception and other forms of protection, perhaps this study will help convince those who are still opposed to proper sex ed that it really makes a difference. The majority of teen moms in the past who had an unplanned pregnancy simply lacked the education or the access to many forms of birth control.
With so many highly effective options for pregnancy prevention on the market, it is encouraging so see that the Nation’s teens are better prepared than ever to handle their sexual health. No matter what side of the fence you are on when it comes to sexual education, keeping teens healthy is something we can all agree is very important.