U.S. Teen Pregnancy Rates Highest in Developed World
According to information released by U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday, January 20, the U.S. continued to have the highest teen pregnancy rates of any developed country. The report states that about 400,000 teens between the ages of 15 and 19 give birth in this country every year.
The most unnerving data that comes from this report is the statistics on the “misconceptions” of pregnancy held by teens. About 50% of the teens with unintended pregnancies did not use contraception and out of that number, almost one-third “believed they could not get pregnant at the time.”
Though this report did not provide the teens’ reasoning for the belief that their actions wouldn’t result in pregnancy, Time explained the popular misconceptions held by teens from previous studies. The misconceptions included the belief that a first sexual encounter couldn’t result in pregnancy, others were based on faulty information about menstrual cycles.
Only 13 percent of the survey respondents that didn’t use contraception said the reason was because it wasn’t easily accesible.
A major topic of discussion surrounding the high numbers of pregnancy in this country is the prevalence of television shows that could possibly glamorize teen pregnancy. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy sent a press release in October 2011 in which they concluded that television shows such as Teen Mom and 16 and Pregnant actually educate teens on the problems associated with teen pregnancy and deter the teens from having unprotected sex.
Although the U.S. remains to have the highest numbers of teen pregnancy, the numbers are actually significantly lower than in previous years.
The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention gives suggestions to lower these numbers further. Programs that offer evidence-based sexual education, parent-child conversations about reproductive health, and affordable and accessible contraception, are proven methods to prevent teen pregnancy.