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National Teen Pregnancy Prevention Day Statement from Planned Parenthood National Director of Education Initiatives, Leslie Kantor
National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy
Planned Parenthood works year-round to help teens delay pregnancy until adulthood, but the National Day to Prevent Teen Pregnancy gives us an occasion to recognize the nation’s progress and consider the remaining challenges. The yearly observation is organized by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.
Statement from Leslie Kantor, National Director of Education Initiatives, Planned Parenthood Federation of America:
"For all the progress we’ve made in reducing teen pregnancy, the remaining challenges are huge. Fortunately, we have the tools to meet them. When teens have access to comprehensive sex education, and reliable access to contraceptives, they are less likely to get pregnant. Voters understand this — and the Obama administration has shown real leadership in expanding effective prevention efforts. Unfortunately, the current Congress continues to wish the problem away, slashing funding for evidence-based sex education while protecting unproven abstinence-only initiatives. Our young people deserve better."
Background on Planned Parenthood’s efforts to reduce teen pregnancy:
Every year, Planned Parenthood provides comprehensive sex education to nearly 1.2 million people and plannedparenthood.org receives 24 million visits — most of them from people seeking health information. Our more than 800 health centers are a leading source of affordable birth control for women of all ages.
Background on teen pregnancy in America:
The United States has achieved sharp declines in pregnancy and childbearing over the past two decades. In 2009, the national teenage birth rate was 39.1 per 1,000 girls, a decrease of 37 percent since 1991 and the lowest rate ever recorded in this country.[i] Yet the U.S. rate still far exceeds those of other developed countries. America’s teen birth rate is more than twice as high as Australia’s, nearly three times as high as Canada’s, four times as high as France’s and Germany’s, and seven and a half times as high as the Netherlands’ and Japan’s[ii] The current U.S. rate is comparable to Romania’s.
Rigorous research has shown that sex education, combined with comprehensive sexual and reproductive health services, can reduce teen pregnancy. The majority of the decline in teen pregnancy rates in the U.S. (86 percent) is due to teens’ increasingly consistent use of contraceptives. The remaining 14 percent is due to a higher proportion of teens choosing to delay sexual activity.[iii]
[ii] Guttmacher Institute. (2010c). U.S. Teenage Pregnancies, Births and Abortions: National and State Trends and Trends by Race and Ethnicity. New York: Guttmacher Institute.
[iii] Santelli, John S., et al. (2007). “Explaining Recent Declines in Adolescent Pregnancy in the United States: The Contribution of Abstinence and Improved Contraceptive Use.” American Journal of Public Health, 97(1), 150–6.