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Report: Teen Pregnancy Rate Down

July 16, 2007


A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics puts the teen birth rate at a record low, and credits campaigns in recent years that focus on reducing teen pregnancy and sexually-transmitted diseases.

Lorraine Teel with the Minnesota AIDS Project says it finds education and prevention efforts are paying off.

"What this new report is showing is that fewer high school students are having sex, more are using condoms, and there's a lower birth rate to teen moms than there has been in years."

The report puts the birth rate at 21 per 1,000 young women, compared to 39 back in 1991. Teel believes one reason for the reduction is increased awareness and concern about the consequences of sexual behavior raised by the HIV-AIDS epidemic. She adds that the report shows a balanced approach is the most effective.

"Comprehensive sexual health education begins with abstinence, but at the same time recognizes that at some point teens will need the information on how to make good choices about condoms, contraceptives and other ways to prevent unplanned pregnancies, sexually transmitted diseases and, importantly, HIV, the virus that causes AIDS."

Teel adds however, despite the positive trend, the teen pregnancy rate is still too high, and people continue to get HIV, and we need to continue efforts to get Minnesota kids get the information they need to make the right decisions.

She points out that most Minnesotans parents support comprehensive sexual education.

"Surveys found that 7-out-of-10 Minnesota adults believe that sex ed. should include both abstinence and contraception information. And, 9-out-of-10 Minnesotans support this type of education in high schools."

Teel adds that a state proposal during this year's Legislative session to support comprehensive sexual education was removed by the governor, but backers will try again next year.

The full report is online at childstats.gov/pubs.asp.

Jim Wishner/Eric Mack, Public News Service - MN